Covid-19 updates

COVID-19 Update 21

Thursday 16 April 2020

Dear AOA Member,

Even though we’re still in the midst of the pandemic, with the lockdown extended as of this evening, and the AOA has been continuing to push for better support for airports right now, we are also beginning to think about the way out of the crisis.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has established a Restart and Recovery Unit for aviation. The unit will immediately focus on restart, in particular, examining new standards on health and wellbeing across the passenger journey, measures needed to sustain and boost the sector, ensuring new standards are established at an international level; and engagement with the sector to ensure the proposals developed are fit for purpose. The unit will also seek to establish a clear vision and objectives for the sector and undertake analysis to explore what a future aviation sector could look like, e.g. based on passenger confidence following the pandemic.

The CAA is doing similar and is considering operational preparedness scenarios for different airport models and sizes. This includes, for example, what the regulatory response is to regulated staff returning to work if the lockdown lasts for a short, medium or longer period of time.

The AOA Board meets next week and will discuss how the AOA should engage with this process; what should be the workplan; and how members can feed into this. The DfT is expecting from the AOA that we will be able to provide them with detailed input, including on the kinds of policy and regulatory measures we feel will be necessary. While we have set out our views on some of these, such as an APD holiday for six months to encourage route re-openings, there will be a range of other ideas we could put forward and your input will be invaluable for that. At the same time, the Government is likely to expect commitments from the industry, potentially around health screening for example, and we will have to develop a position that works for airports of all sizes.

Given the global nature of both the pandemic and the aviation industry, we will be aligning our work with initiatives elsewhere. In Europe, ACI EUROPE has started an initiative called “Off the Ground”, which aims to support both airports from an operational perspective and feed into the European Commission and national governments’ recovery plans.

As promised, we will keep you informed as our own work develops on this.

Best wishes,

Karen Dee
Chief Executive