Covid-19 updates

COVID-19 Update 64

Thursday 18 June 2020

Dear AOA Member,

This morning I participated in the latest meeting of the Expert Steering Group of the Government’s International Aviation Taskforce. While the publication of health measures, the regulations on face coverings and the Jet Zero Council were all discussed, there was not a great deal of progress or decision-making conveyed. The Department outlined future work through the Jet Zero Council and economic modelling that officials were examining for various recovery scenarios, I’ll update members on this when more detail is available. Unfortunately due to the current legal challenge, international travel corridors/’air bridges’ and the review of quarantine measures were not discussed. The quarantine continues to be an area of press speculation and media attention with the Prime Minister facing calls for the policy to be axed by the 1922 Committee of backbench Conservative MPs yesterday evening.

AOA also participated in a call with the DfT’s External Affairs team, along with representatives from other transport sectors. AOA stressed the importance of positive communications and messaging with regard to the summer holidays and travel in-general with an overriding aim of building passenger confidence. This follows a number of high-profile remarks from Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, and other members of the cabinet, stating that they themselves would not be going away on vacation this year and that citizens do so “at their own risk”. The team at the DfT were thinking about how they could help change the narrative on international travel to a positive one and whether some media moments with Ministers might be possible in the coming weeks.

Finally, it seems as if airlines are looking ahead to October and the expiration of the current waiver from the 80-20 use-it-or-lose-it rule for airport slots. IATA have called for this waiver to be extended into the winter season with warnings on long-term connectivity and hampering the economic recovery if airlines can’t retain the flexibility they currently have under the waiver. While AOA has not publicly stated a position on this, our European sister association, ACI EUROPE has put out a statement cautioning regulators against the extension of the waiver, and that any decision made should be done so on the basis of empirical data and evidence.

Other item of note:

  • The AOA team was at the Infrastructure Operators Adaptation Forum where the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) gave a presentation on its recent publication ‘Anticipate, React, Recover’ in which the key conclusion is that a new framework for resilience is needed – you can read the report here. There was also a presentation by Kent County Council which has worked with Deltares to develop an Adaptation Catalyst tool to support adaptive planning in uncertain climates. To learn more about this tool see here.

Best wishes,

Karen Dee
Chief Executive