Covid-19 updates

COVID-19 Update 36

Thursday 7 May 2020

Dear AOA Member,

With the continued media speculation about possible quarantine measures, we will be writing again to the Transport Secretary to outline our concerns. Following a discussion with the AOA Board, the letter will outline the devastating impact this could have on aviation and related sectors, if certain mitigating measures aren’t taken. In particular, we’re calling for a clear exit strategy from quarantine and for further business support measures to see us through a prolonged period with no passengers.

Separately, we joined with Airlines UK and ground handling companies to write to the Prime Minister outlining the importance of tapering the Job Retention Scheme (JRS) for aviation, rather than seeing an abrupt end to this vital support scheme. It has been picked up by the media, such as on Sky News. We’ll be working with others in the industry to see if we can develop a common position on what that tapering should look like.

In light of the speculated announcement on quarantine measures, the Aviation Minister further postponed her weekly call. However, AOA did join a call to discuss freight issues with DfT Ministers Rachel Maclean and Andrew Stephenson. Most attendees raised the impact of quarantine on the freight industry, but also joined AOA calls for an extension of the JRS, followed by a tapered end to prevent job losses as the economy recovers. Ministers committed to feeding this back to the Treasury.

A few other points of interest:

  • As you may recall, the Transport Secretary was unable to give evidence to the Transport Select Committee a few weeks ago but has now submitted written answers to the Committee, including on business rates relief for airports. You can read it here.
  • The DfT has announced that the former head of the Royal Air Force, Sir Stephen Hillier, is their preferred candidate to take over as from Dame Deirdre Hutton as Chair of the CAA. The appointment will be scrutinised by the Transport Select Committee, before being finalised.
  • The Supreme Court has granted Heathrow Airport permission to appeal the Court of Appeal’s ruling in the judicial review of the Airports National Policy Statement.

Have a good bank holiday weekend,

Karen Dee
Chief Executive