Covid-19 updates

COVID-19 Update 71

Monday 29 June 2020

Dear AOA Member,

The Prime Minister has given an interview to the newly-launched Times Radio where he explained that the Government will be taking an activist and interventionist approach to the economy. He said, it is the only way “to get business to be confident, to start investing, to start taking people back and start creating new jobs and driving new growth.” Of course for our sector, the main constraint to returning to growth is the current quarantine measures.

The Government made a parliamentary statement today outlining some of the detail of how it intends to roll-back the current blanket quarantine. The Joint Biosecurity Centre has been tasked with the categorisation of destination countries as green, amber or red depending on their risk assessment, informed by factors including the prevalence of coronavirus within the country, Government confidence in the reliability of their data, and crucially the trajectory of the disease in the country. Low risk countries in the green and amber categories will be exempt from public health measures at the border. Further detail, including the initial categorisation of countries, is expected towards the middle of the week. This is a welcome step towards the risk-based approach we have been arguing for and, as I have said previously, it will be crucial also to see Foreign Office travel advice change in-line with reduced travel restrictions at the border. We will keep you updated as things progress.

This afternoon, AOA received the following letter from the Chancellor, in response to our request for an extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) beyond the current October end. It is clear that HM Treasury is keen to phase out the CJRS by October, but AOA will continue to press for some form of employment support for the sector, whether that is done through an extension of the CJRS or as part of a package of measures including some of our other asks, including business rates relief.

And finally, on Brexit, the Department for Transport has provided an update on the ongoing EU Transition issues. As previously reported, after four rounds of talks, the aviation talks have gone reasonably well and in Chief Negotiator David Frost’s view it is one of the deals that can be done without major difficulty in the time available. The UK and EU seem to have more in common than differences on aviation but there are several areas where concessions may have to be made. The UK Government has restated its position that agreements on aviation access and safety (The Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement [CATA] and a Bilateral Air Safety Agreement [BASA] respectively) should be negotiated separately from the wider Free Trade Agreement. In terms of timeline, the next round of talks with aviation featuring as part of the energy and transport session is on 1 July.  The Government is planning a comprehensive communication campaign from Summer 2020 to make sure people and businesses know what they need to prepare for the end of the transition period. We will keep you updated.

Best wishes,

Karen Dee
Chief Executive