Covid-19 updates

COVID-19 Update 23

Monday 20 April 2020

Dear AOA Member,

The Job Retention Scheme is now open for applications, and you can find the details here, including a link to how to calculate 80% of your employee’s wages. After you’ve submitted your claim, keep a note or a print-out of your claim reference number – you won’t receive a confirmation text or email. Expect to receive the funds six working days after you apply (so apply by 22 April to receive the funds by 30 April).

Late on Friday, the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) announced details of the National Testing Strategy and tests in England, initially focusing on the police, the fire service, etc. Government departments and local resilience forums can also refer other critical workers in their area for testing, based on local or national need and testing capacity available. The list of eligible workers includes key transport workers. In order to assess what this means in terms of demand from a transport perspective, DHSC has suggested that the Department for Transport (DfT) initially ask Network Rail and Transport for London to assist them in a trial, which started at the weekend. DfT have told us that, given the scale of Network Rail and TfL, they expect this will provide valuable data to inform future testing plans and they will contact us this week as they work to ensure that tests are prioritised by groups critical to ongoing operations, including airports.

Lastly, the AOA joined the DfT for an operational call to discuss a range of issues. We raised again the importance of relief being provided for business rates and CAA charges, the challenge around ensuring sufficient ground handling capacity at airports as well a need to ensure that the DfT’s work on recovery is coordinated with other UK and international initiatives that are ongoing within government, industry and regulators. This is to avoid overlapping workstreams or pockets of industry and government working in silos. The DfT said the FCO had agreed to relax their wording around advice against travel anywhere “indefinitely”, so hopefully we will see this online in the coming days.

Best wishes,

Karen Dee
Chief Executive