Covid-19 updates

COVID-19 Update 67

Tuesday 23 June 2020

Dear AOA Member,

Today, the Prime Minister was in the House of Commons to announce a range of changes to the Government’s Coronavirus public health guidance. As expected, the Government has amended the 2 metre social distancing guidance to “1m+”, inferring that there is an ability to reduce the distance to 1m where the 2m guidance is not possible, provided that mitigating measures are in place; this is similar to how airports should currently be operating under the Department for Transport’s aviation-specific public health guidance. As well as numerous changes to individual guidance, the Prime Minister also announced that from the 4th July, museums, galleries, arcades and libraries would be allowed to open, paving the way for a broader opening up of the tourism and leisure sectors later.

From an AOA perspective, this morning saw reports of the letter I wrote jointly with the Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, Dr Adam Marshall, to request the Government do more to support the aviation sector, specifically with regard to business rates relief. We’ll continue to press on this point and our other key policy asks for the recovery as the week goes on; we’re working on a number of other media moments ahead of the review of the quarantine measures on the 29th June, to ensure the industry’s voice is well and truly heard on the matter.

This afternoon, AOA took part in an ACI policy committee meeting which reviewed ACI activity on COVID-19, discussed different health measures taken in airports around the continent, and included a discussion with Filip Cornelis – Director Aviation DG MOVE – encompassing all aspects of EU policy making. Topics with Director Cornelis included: environment, where he talked about the EU policy due by the end of the year, to include mandating use of sustainable aviation fuels in future; slots, where he said the policy reform will be returned to but he cannot say when (on the temporary 80:20 issue he stated that a decision needs to be made by September on extending the current flexibilities to the winter season); Brexit, where he stated aviation is still intended to fit into an overarching deal; and continuing flexibilities for member state action on COVID-19. While there was nothing significantly new in his statements, it demonstrated a good continuing engagement with the industry.

Other items of note:

  • Public Health England has worked with Future Learn, based on advice from the World Health Organisation, on a free COVID-19 Psychological First Aid course, available online here.  With the COVID-19 crisis having a range of impacts on the mental health of many individuals, it’s worth bearing this in mind and considering how to better support yourself and your peers.

Best wishes,

Karen Dee
Chief Executive