Covid-19 updates

COVID-19 Update 79

Thursday 9 July 2020

Dear AOA Member,

This morning, I attended the Department for Transport’s Expert Steering Group where focus turned towards establishing an ESG Recovery Sub-Group. The AOA and Airlines UK gave a joint presentation on utilising the successful working group model used to develop the aviation-specific health measures. The proposal was to form a new sub-group tasked with the development of a UK Aviation Recovery Plan, with representation from airports, airlines, ground handlers and the aerospace sector alongside cross-departmental input from Treasury, DfT, BEIS and FCO. I reiterated the sector’s need for an emergency support package to limit long term damage to UK jobs, connectivity and aviation infrastructure. The Department has agreed to set this sub-group up and we look forward to getting the process underway.

Meanwhile in Northern Ireland and Wales, the devolved administrations have taken the decision to bring these nations into alignment with Scotland and England on the countries exempted from quarantine measures. Neither the NI Executive nor the Welsh Government followed Scotland’s example of excluding Spain or Serbia from the list.

Some airports have expressed concern with the latest guidance for retail and food and beverage outlets regarding collecting patron’s personal details. A passenger’s visit to an airport airside environment can include multiple visits to multiple locations and we sought clarification from DfT to provide some further guidance as to how airport operators and retailers should comply with NHS track and trace. DfT has said the request to collect information within pubs and restaurants is for passengers who are spending time within an establishment to drink/eat: it doesn’t cover people who takeaway the food/drink to eat elsewhere. The policy is intended to try and identify as small a group as possible in the event of a confirmed case, so there will be an expectation that hospitality venues collect the data of passengers who are eating/drinking within their establishments. This will include those passengers who will be leaving the country. In the event of a confirmed case, those passengers will have to be traced (including those who have left the country). Collecting details of where a confirmed case has been, should limit the numbers of passengers that need to be traced and tested. While airports had suggested using boarding pass scanning to identify consumers in the airside environment, BEIS and DfT have advised that this would be  a considerably larger group and thus would be less helpful. We would welcome members views on the advice given by DfT, so please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Finally, our corporate partner, Willis Towers Watson is running a webinar next Wednesday (15th July) on “A sustainable reset: the critical human factors in rebuilding airport operations”, which looks sure to be an insightful event at a critical time. You can register your interest on the link above.

Other items of note:

  • DfT has produced several stakeholder resources for Government Departments on Travel Corridors. They can be accessed via this Extranet site (link here) which is best accessed via Chrome. These resources include a public Q&A, social media information graphics, and updated port and carrier posters. DfT encourage you to share the social media infographics via your own channels.
  • The government has published today a consultation on reforms to the tax treatment of red diesel and other rebated fuels announced at Budget 2020. The consultation will close on 1 October 2020, and can be found here. The AOA will likely respond on behalf of members. The Treasury will be hosting a webinar on the consultation on the 30th July. If you would like to attend, please could you register your interest by sending an email with the subject line “Registering interest for webinar on red diesel consultation” to [email protected]

Best wishes,

Karen Dee
Chief Executive