COVID-19 Update 47
Tuesday 26 May 2020
Dear AOA Member,
Following the Home Secretary’s announcement on Friday of some of the details of the quarantining policy, on Saturday we received a letter from Aviation Minister Kelly Tolhurst MP and the responsible Home Office Minister, Kevin Foster MP, outlining what had been announced. We will be following up the commitment to working through refinements, which we believe should focus on how to step down from the blanket nature of the quarantine towards a targeted regime.
To emphasise the importance of that targeted regime, the AOA worked with Airlines UK on a joint letter to the Prime Minister, urging him to act on the air bridges concept as soon as possible. In addition to aviation colleagues such as IATA and BAR-UK co-signing the letter, it was also signed by business groups such as the British Chambers of Commerce, the Federation of Small Business, Make UK and ADS as well as tourism groups like the Tourism Alliance, UK Hospitality and ETOA. Over the bank holiday weekend, our initiative was covered by the Sunday Telegraph and BBC News, which was positive given the wider political news agenda being focused on the Prime Minister’s adviser, Dominic Cummings.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced the timetable to reopen non-essential retail businesses by which outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from 1 June and all other businesses are able to open from 15 June. What is not immediately apparent in this announcement is whether airside retail will also be able to open under those conditions and we will seek clarification on that. This may, however, be covered by the work on a common standard for health measures in aviation instead.
Finally, Sir Patrick McLoughlin CH has been appointed Chair of VisitBritain. His transport background may be useful in helping the alignment of VisitBritain and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s agendas with those of aviation, given how intertwined the two are. In particular, the role of the UK’s border and visas policy – a perennial challenge for VisitBritain and aviation – may benefit from his input. Also announced was that Nick de Bois has been appointed as the Chair of the Visit England Advisory Board.