Covid-19 updates

COVID-19 Update 37

Monday 11 May 2020

Dear AOA Member,

It will have been difficult to miss the wide-spread coverage of the quarantine measures the PM announced on Sunday. On Saturday, I spoke to a number of media, including several BBC programmes, ITV News, Sky and Channel 4 News, about the impact such a measure could have and how we believe the UK Government should support the industry. This followed a joint letter (copy here) from the AOA and the airline trade associations to the Government on Thursday, outlining our concerns and the measures now necessary in light of aviation being singled out for a later re-opening than the rest of the economy.

On Sunday morning, we had a conference call with the Aviation Minister, Kelly Tolhurst MP, and the Minister of State for Future Borders and Immigration, Kevin Foster MP, ahead of the PM’s statement to which a select number of airports and airlines had been invited. The Prime Minister’s statement and the documents today have delivered a little bit more detail, but clarity remains elusive on when this will come in, how long for, how it will be reviewed and what exemptions there will be, other than arrivals from the Common Travel Area. There has been speculation in the media that France may also be an exempted country from the quarantine, but this has not yet been confirmed by Government sources.

What we do know is that there will be three phases:

  • First, increased information about the UK’s social distancing regime throughout the travel journey, including pre-departure, onboard and in UK airports as well as an aircraft health declaration prior to arrival.
  • Secondly, later this month,, the Government will require all international arrivals to supply their contact and accommodation information via a digital form for contract-tracing purposes.
  • Thirdly, the Government will require all international arrivals not on a short list of exemptions to self-isolate in their accommodation for fourteen days on arrival into the UK. Where they do not have such accommodation, they will be required to do so in accommodation arranged by the Government.

We have been promised more detail on this “later this month”, but in the meantime some more detail has been released on the wider proposals and road-map for easing the lockdown, including how public transport will operate. The DfT has committed to continue working with the aviation sector on health measures for aviation, though we have pointed out that a restart of aviation is improbable while the quarantine restrictions are in place.

We outlined our desire to have the health measures agreed as an alternative to quarantine in a further letter to the Prime Minister, signed by airport and airline CEOs (copy here). This has been released to the media as well. We will be making these points in a planned conference call with the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps MP later this week.

As ever, as and when we find out more, we will keep you updated.

Best Wishes

Karen Dee
Chief Executive