Covid-19 updates

COVID-19 Update 81

Monday 13 July 2020

Dear AOA Member,

As I said in last Friday’s update the AOA will be carrying out a campaign over the coming days to highlight our key concerns and issues, particularly on Business Rates, job losses and the financial impact of COVID-19. This morning the Telegraph in its article highlighted AOA’s warning, which is cited in our press release that 20,000 airport jobs and 90,000 affiliated jobs are at risk if the Government does not provide much needed financial support. Business Rates Relief would be an important start and help some of the cashflow issues faced by member airports; relief for English and Welsh airports would align our sector with others and the actions taken in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Today the AOA team attended the launch of the new Border Operating Model, intended to outline how the process for the import and export of goods will take place after the 31st December 2020, when the UK leaves the EU. This formed part of the Government’s wider launch of Brexit preparedness communications targeted at consumers and businesses, ahead of the end of the transition period. Government has stressed that advice and guidance published alongside the model were focused on “no regrets” actions, which could be taken and would prove beneficial regardless of the outcome of the ongoing trade negotiations with the European Union. The new operating model will see checks conducted at the ports of entry where possible, but a large system of inland infrastructure will also be scaled up to meet the UK’s customs requirements and process further volumes of freight. Asked what his biggest concern was regarding the roll out of the new operating model and the end of the transition period, Michael Gove, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said it was the risk that after three potential no-deal scenarios in the past, businesses may not heed Government advice now.

The UK Travel Retail Forum (UKTRF), the Airport Operators Association (AOA), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Airlines UK in conjunction with the UK government have today launched a ‘Travel Safe’ campaign for passengers and staff. Travel Safe’ guidance will be on display in many of the UK’s airports, travel retail stores and food and beverage outlets, providing advice for passengers on how to stay safe when travelling. The UK-wide initiative emphasises the industry’s commitment to the transport sector’s recovery, and encourages all travellers and staff to comply with Government recommendations and requirements. The digital and physical signage and guidance in airports and onboard will be accompanied by a targeted social media campaign. The campaign is intended to be complementary to, and not replace, the efforts that airports have already made on passenger communications; access to the Travel Safe resources can be found here.

Other items of note:

  • AOA also joined a weekly airports operational call today with the Department for Transport. DfT confirmed they were working to establish the best solution for communicating to industry and passengers any changes to the International Travel Corridor system. This follows the last minute removal of Serbia from the exempted countries list last week. On track and trace, the DfT stated that for restaurants and bars airside, a phone number for every group eating in or staying for longer than 15 minutes would have to be noted, to help the NHS track and trace system. AOA is gathering views and concerns of members with how this system operates airside, so please get in touch if you have concerns.

Best wishes,

Karen Dee
Chief Executive