COVID-19 Update 50
Friday 29 May 2020
Dear AOA Member,
The Chancellor has outlined the changes to the Job Retention Scheme this evening. He confirmed it will end on 31 October but announced that the flexibility provisions will be brought forward to 1 July, and that these will allow employers maximum flexibility to bring staff back on a part-time basis. We have issued a statement in response, which you can see here.
Following the Expert Steering Group meeting yesterday, today the team has had further discussion with members to refine the health measures guidance. I think this is in a very good place now for DfT to work with KPMG to draft the final document, though I’m sure further questions will come up as they seek to flesh out the detail.
We’ve also been thinking ahead to the recovery today. We had a helpful discussion with HM Treasury about their review of APD, which was promised in the March 2020 Budget in response to the collapse of Flybe but postponed due to COVID-19. We have made clear the immediate recovery should see a suspension of APD for at least six months to help airlines restart routes, but that should not preclude working on some of the longer term challenges about what APD should look like in future. In particular, is there any structural reform that can be useful in boosting regional connectivity, as the UK’s EU exit should be a chance to end the double-charging of APD on domestic routes. Treasury is going to consider how it takes that review forward now. Meanwhile, we have written jointly with Airlines UK, BAR-UK and IATA to the Chancellor outlining our views. You can see the letter here.
Finally, we have been speaking to a range of media about the impacts of quarantine. Hopefully this will continue the steady drumbeat of concern on this issue that we have seen in the press in recent days.
Have a good weekend,