Covid-19 updates

COVID-19 Update 84

Thursday 16 July 2020

Dear AOA Member,

You will all have read that the Prime Minister is preparing to make a speech tomorrow outlining a year-long roadmap for the reopening of various features of society. As a part of this, he is expected to encourage people to return to their offices, where they are able to, and remove the current “avoid public transport” messaging. Welcome as this may be, the latest forecasts from ACI EUROPE indicate that for our sector, the road to recovery is likely to be a long one with aviation traffic seen as unlikely to return to 2019 levels before 2024. AOA will continue its efforts to ensure politicians and Ministers understand the full implications of this.

On other issues, this morning I received a letter from the Secretary of State for Transport regarding our position on a potential alleviation of the 80/20 slot rule for the winter 2020/21 season. The Secretary of State has taken our concerns on board and has written to the European Commission to ask if they can provide an early indication of their intentions; this would provide a basis for the industry to plan for next season. Any decision must be supported by the evidence, which is what we had called for in our letter. The Secretary of State’s full response can be read here.

In discussions with the Department for Transport (DfT) yesterday, it was agreed that they would provide details of the polling carried out relating to consumer confidence and travel by plane. They have now been able to share some headline figures with us, which I thought you would find useful. It is heartening to see that 77% of people who intend to travel outside of the UK over the next 12 months will do so by plane. However, planned business travel has reduced dramatically (just 6%), while one in five of those who usually travel outside of the UK for leisure do not intend to do so at least for 12 months. Respondents have more confidence travelling via modes that allow for greater social distancing: 32% of respondents said they were not at all confident travelling by plane compared with just 20% by Ferry and 22% by train. On health measures, those which respondents found most reassuring were regular deep cleaning (60%), followed by mandatory face coverings (55%)  and hand sanitiser (53%). Overall the polling confirms what many airport members are seeing, a slow return of passengers as concern about contracting the virus continues.

The AOA also participated in a DfT Freight Industry conference call today with Transport Minister Rachel Maclean MP, who was interested in looking at the future role and working of cross-modal freight and the priorities from the industry.

Other items of note:

Best wishes,

Karen Dee
Chief Executive