Covid-19 updates

Covid-19 Update 14

Friday 3 April 2020

Dear AOA Member,

On the financial support for airports, the Government has taken a step forward today with the creation of a loan scheme for large companies, the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS).

The Government will provide guarantees of up to 80% under the CLBILS to enable banks to make loans of up to £25 million to companies with a £45m-£500m annual turnover. These loans will be offered at commercial rates of interest. Further details will be announced later this month, but this could take up to four weeks.

While this is a step forward, we are concerned that the scheme needs to be up and running faster, and that the £500m cap on turnover and £25m cap on lending seem arbitrary. At this level, it may not cover all airport needs. The Bank of England’s scheme for major companies will be unable to pick up the remaining demands. We are liaising with the CBI to help create a collective business voice on this.

The AOA team today liaised with BEIS on policing costs for airports. While a number of airports have started to make progress on this with their local police forces, this is not the case everywhere. BEIS have committed to raising with the Home Office that a general approach to policing costs should be adopted.

In recent days, we have been speaking with the CAA about inspections and have been assured that they will be pragmatic. On security, air traffic services and rescue and fire fighting services, CAA inspectors will take a proportionate and reasonable approach with airports and aerodromes. They will be in touch first to assess the level of operations and whether it would be acceptable for any inspections to take place. This is, of course, a sensible move and will help to reduce the burden at this challenging time.

With limited progress on several of our other asks, such as business rates and flexing the Job Retention Scheme to better suit aviation, we have looked at ways to strengthen calls for progress. We had a good discussion today with the Global infrastructure Investor Association, who represent a broad range of investors in UK airports, on how we can bring in the Department of International Trade as a further avenue to put pressure on HM Treasury. We have also had our regular catch-ups with IATA to align positions where possible and Unite the Union updated us on their work.

Lastly, some further information and resources for you:

  • HMRC have updated their guidance for businesses wanting to defer VAT payments.
  • EASA has published a revised Safety Information Bulletin on COVID-19, which includes information for aerodrome operators
  • For our non-airport members: the Government is asking businesses to support the manufacture and supply of testing consumables and equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE) for laboratories, and/or new or existing types of coronavirus tests for antigens or antibodies. If you can provide support on any of these, please contact the officials here. If you know suppliers (e.g. of uniforms) who would be willing to adapt their manufacturing processes to any of these, please do pass this information on.
Have a good weekend,
Karen Dee
Chief Executive