COVID-19 Update 87
Tuesday 21 July 2020
Dear AOA Member,
This morning I met with Nigel Huddleston MP, Tourism Minister and long-time friend of the aviation industry. I outlined the position of UK airports, our concerns regarding a prolonged recovery for the aviation sector and the tourism industry, and the continuing need to rebuild consumer confidence in air travel. The Minister stated that while his initial focus had been on boosting domestic tourism, with aviation starting to open back up, the Government would be looking at international tourism campaigns in key markets, including France and Germany. He highlighted a mixed picture across the UK tourism sector, with some destinations reporting people returning, while others were still struggling. The Minister pointed to the recent announcement that business events and conferences would be given the go ahead from October 2020 as a helpful boost to aviation demand. Overall, the Minister was keen to stress that the message of the aviation industry was being heard, across Government, and that he was working closely with the Aviation Minister and others to facilitate the wider recovery.
The AOA team met with Department for Transport officials on Regional Connectivity this afternoon. Officials highlighted the work would form an integral part of the Recovery Plan for aviation which is being progressed through the sub-groups of the Expert Steering Group. In the meantime the Department wants to work with industry on short, medium and long term proposals to incentivise regional connectivity, both in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis but also the Flybe collapse earlier in the year. The AOA team outlined some of the levers we believe are available to Government and stressed the current vulnerability of UK airports vis-à-vis European competitors receiving state subsidies. However, the discussion remained high-level with detail to be explored in the coming weeks and months. AOA will continue to work with members to flesh out the detail of our Regional Connectivity asks and work to ensure they are presented to Government at relevant opportunities.
I also attended a Sustainable Aviation Council Meeting which focused on planning the communications strategy for the remainder of the year in connection with the Sustainable Aviation Net Zero Roadmap.