Covid-19 updates

COVID-19 Update 29

Tuesday 28 April 2020

Dear AOA Member,

ACI EUROPE has sent a letter to all Transport Ministers in EU, plus the UK, Norway, etc outlining a series of requests and suggestions for procedures around the re-start of aviation. This has been a very helpful piece of work, which a number of UK airports who are members of ACI EUROPE have been involved in, as well as AOA team members. We will be following that up as AOA to endorse the work and to outline some of the UK angles to this.

Today, the AOA team joined a call with Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston. He confirmed that Government is having internal conversations on tapering and phasing of the Job Retention Scheme, and he elaborated a little on the G20 Tourism Ministers meeting I mentioned in my update yesterday and that through this they’re monitoring closely how other countries are stepping down their lockdowns. On the Package Travel Directive, attendees on the call discussed the challenge between consumers demanding refunds and tourism business viability. With the legal framework what it is, DCMS, BEIS and DfT are having conversations and working together to come up with a reasonable solution to the issue. Following the call, we have written to the Minister to seek a follow-up meeting to discuss in more depth a number of the aviation-specific issues from a tourism perspective.

A few further points of interest:

  • After considerable urging by the AOA and individual airports, the Aviation Minister has written to all MPs outlining the role airports and airlines are playing in moving critical freight and supplies as well as facilitating repatriation. This should hopefully enable them to respond to constituents’ questions around why airports remain open.
  • HMT and HMRC have set out new timelines for tax policy consultations and other work in the light of COVID-19, a full list is available here. Also delayed is the planned consultation on aviation taxation, announced in the Budget in March.
    • Consultations on duty-free and tax-free goods carried by passengers and on the VAT treatment of overseas goods will continue to the existing timetable to provide businesses with enough time to prepare for the end of the transition period at the end of 2020.
  • IATA have published some guidance on ground handling in the current circumstances. You can find it here.
  • HMRC is running a Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Rebate Scheme Webinar, with more details on who can claim and what employees an employer can claim for. Register here.

Best wishes,

Karen Dee
Chief Executive