The UK Government has been working with the CBI to establish links between government departments and business to aid the response to COVID-19. The Airport Operators Association (AOA) has been designated as the representative of the airports sector and has set up this portal to provide further information to the sector and to seek your input.

If you have any queries / input regarding COVID-19 or would like to be added to our COVID-19 mailing list, please let us know through the enquiry form at the bottom of the page. A member of the team will be in touch with you soon.

This portal is open to all organisations in the aviation sector including organisations that are not members of the AOA.

AOA Members can access further information on the work AOA has been undertaking on COVID-19, including correspondence with Government, by clicking here. If you do not know your login details, please contact Patricia Page.

 

Official Health Guidance for UK airports

Aviation Health Panel – Summary of Advice

Aviation Health Guidance for Operators and Passengers

 

Restrictions on activity due to COVID-19

Quarantine for UK arrivals

The Government has announced the imposition of quarantine measures for inbound travelers to the United Kingdom, due to come into force on 8 June 2020. The measures will require all inbound passengers to provide their journey, accommodation and contact details to UK Border Force; travelers will then be asked to remain at their chosen accommodation for the first 14 days of their stay in the UK. Failure to comply with these measures could result in fines of up to £1000. The most up-to-date information on quarantine and measures passengers are expected to follow can be found here.

In order to keep critical sectors and national infrastructure operational, the Government has outlined certain individuals that will be exempt from the quarantine measures. The list of such individuals can be found here.

Social Distancing, Lockdown and Self-Isolation

On 23 March, the Prime Minister announced a series of legally enforceable restrictions which aim to limit the spread of COVID-19 by enforcing social distancing measures. The restrictions shall remain in place for at least the next three weeks and include the following measures:

Overall guidance on social distancing in the workplace can be found here whilst more transport-specific guidance can be found here.

If an employee or a member of an employee’s household develops symptoms of Coronavirus they must not leave home and instead should self-isolate. The symptoms of Coronavirus are as follows:

a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)

a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

In addition, persons in groups particularly at risk from the virus should not leave home until instructed.

For more information on the symptoms of Coronavirus, as well as the guidance surrounding self-isolation and at-risk groups see the NHS Website.

You can find further general information on COVID-19, including information on business and school closures, as well as travel at www.gov.uk/coronavirus

 

Aviation sector-specific measures

Public Health Measures at UK Airports

The AOA is working with the Department for Transport, the Civil Aviation Authority and other stakeholders in the UK aviation industry to formulate public health guidelines for the restart of our industry. These guidelines will be developed in collaboration with medical experts and will be approved by the Government’s SAGE committee. In addition to advising passengers on what will be expected of them in the airport terminal and onboard aircraft as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, the guidelines will also form the basis for airport operators and airlines individual responses and public health measures.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) issued a joint document defining measures to assure the health safety of air travellers and aviation personnel once airlines resume regular flight schedules following the severe disruption caused by COVID-19. Many of the measures included within the European protocol have found their way into the draft UK guidelines. The EASA/ECDC document can be found here.

 

Regulatory Easements

  • Delay to increase in CAA Charges
    ORS5 No. 359-371 – CAA Scheme of Charges effective from 6 April, incl. No. 359W-371W on delay of implementation of planned increases for three months
  • Extensions to Licences, Ratings & Certificates
    ORS4 No.1354 – Covid-19 Outbreak: Extension of Validity Periods for Licences, Ratings and Certificates of Aircrew, Instructors, Examiners, Aircraft Maintenance Licence Holders and Air Traffic Controllers
  • Extension to Dangerous Goods Training Licences
    ORS4 No.1364 – Covid-19 – Extension of the Validity Period for Recurrent Dangerous Goods Training
  • Easements for Rescue & Fire Fighting Services
    Click here for more information & FAQs
  • Aviation Security
    These have been communicated to you in the usual manner. Please contact DfT Aviation Security for further details
  • Slots
    The European Commission has adopted the regulatory underpinning of the 80/20-rule relaxation, which will consider all slots as flown from 1 March until 24 October 2020 (provided the slots have been handed back for reallocation) and this can be extended further. For Chinese routes, this applies from 23 January. See here for the full regulation.

 

Public Health England: Information for the Transport Sector

PHE have published and continually updated a Frequently Asked Questions document for the UK aviation sector, containing questions often asked by those working in the sector. This document can be found here.

Critical workers

Critical workers are those whose work is critical to the coronavirus response. For transport, this includes those who will keep air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass. It is up to businesses to decide which of their workers meet the requirements of being a critical worker.

Please note that all workers (including critical workers) should only be going to work if they are unable to do their job from home. Further guidance on working conditions for various settings can be found on the Government website here.

Coronavirus Act 2020

The Coronavirus Act 2020 includes provisions to close airports if Border Force is unable to maintain border security. The Aviation Minister wrote to airports with further information, which you can read here.

Business rates for airports

The Scottish Government has introduced business rates relief for airports and ground handling agents in Scotland, as part of its relief measures for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.

The Northern Ireland Executive

Recreational General Aviation

The Department for Transport has released guidance stating that it considers that the current social distancing rules (see above) preclude recreational GA flying. As the current rules are generally being well observed, the DfT has decided that it is not necessary to enact a blanket ban on VFR flying as has been seen in other European countries.

Changes to Customs Regulations

  • The Treasury has announced that certain medical equipment arriving from outside of the EU will no longer be subject to customs duty or import VAT.
  • If businesses are moving goods through customs and are no longer able to comply with a condition of their authorisation because of Coronavirus, they can  get permission to temporarily vary the conditions of their authorisation. More details here and here.

 

General measures for businesses

Guidance for employers can be found here. The UK Government’s dedicated Business Support website has information on the following UK-wide schemes:

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – all employers will be eligible to apply for a government grant of 80% of workers salaries up to £2,500 a month. Information for employers here and employees here.
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme – Government-backed loans up to £5 million for businesses with a turnover of less than £45m per annum.
  • Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme – Government-backed loans up to £25 million for businesses with a turnover between £45m-£500m per annum.
  • Statutory Sick Pay Rebate
  • Time to Pay – a new HMRC helpline has been set up – 0800 024 1222
  • Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility – for large businesses rated investment grade or equivalent)
  • VAT Deferral – with further guidance here.
  • Deferral of Self-Assessment Pay

Additional information is also available there for the following England-only schemes:

  • Small Business Grant Funding
  • For Retail, Hospitality and Leisure businesses in England with a rateable property value (i.e. not including airport concessions):
    • Business Rates Holiday – eligibility has been expanded as of 26th March, see here
    • Cash Grant

The schemes will be run by Local Authorities – further information on what they may look like can be found here.

Insolvency

The Government has announced a number of changes to the UK’s Insolvency Framework which will add new restructuring tools to give companies breathing space and keep trading while they explore options for rescue. The proposals will also include key safeguards for creditors and suppliers to ensure they are paid. The Insolvency Act will be temporarily suspended specifically to give confidence to directors to continue trading without the threat of personal liability, should the company ultimately fall into insolvency. Find out more here

Further measures

In addition to the above support schemes, the Government has made the following changes and easements to existing regulations / requirements in response to COVID-19.

Human Resources
  • Enforcement of the gender pay gap reporting deadlines are suspended for this reporting year (2019/20), see here.
  • As of 30th March, the rules surrounding Right-to-Work Checks have been relaxed. Checks may now be completed over video call and scanned, rather than original documents, may now be accepted.
  • Workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to COVID-19 will now be able to carry it over into the next two leave years. These measures will ensure workers won’t lose their leave entitlements and gives more flexibility to business at a time when it is needed most. Find more information here.
Vehicle and Driving Tests
  • Effective from 30 March, MOT Vehicle Tests for cars and motorcycles will not be required for six months. Click here for more information.
  • Annual testing for lorries, buses and coaches have been suspended for at least three months.
  • Driving Tests
    • Theory Tests have been suspended until 20 April 2020 and Practical Tests have been suspended for at least three months
    • Critical workers (which includes persons essential to the operation of air transport) are still able to book an emergency test. For more information about how to arrange an emergency test click here.
  • Effective immediately and until further notice tank vehicles whose roadworthiness certificate has been extended may remain in service without a valid ADR1(C) Certificate – see here for more information.
  • Lorry and bus drivers whose Drivers CPC Card expires during the period 1st March to 30th September 2020 will still be permitted to drive. Military drivers with different training will also be permitted to drive in civilian situations during this period. Click here for more information.
Other changes
  • Companies House have announced that businesses will be given an additional 3 months to file accounts to help companies avoid penalties as they deal with the impacts of COVID-19. Full guidance on applying for an extension can be found here
  • The Government has issued further advice on commercial insurance policies and COVID-19, see here.
  • In England, Wales and Northern Ireland commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 will be protected from eviction. Further details are now available.

Further measures in the devolved nations

  • The Scottish Government’s dedicated Business Support website has information on its Small Business Grants and support for the Third Sector
  • The Welsh Government’s dedicated Business Support website has information on access to finance through the Development Bank of Wales
  • The Northern Ireland Executive’s NI Direct website has information on its Small Business Grant and Hospitality, Tourism and Retail Sector Grant Scheme

Support the COVID-19 Response

A new online service has been launched which allows businesses to notify the Government of how they can assist with the response to COVID-19. Capabilities requested that may be held by companies within the aviation sector include:

  • expertise or support on IT, manufacturing, construction, project management, procurement, engineering or communications
  • transport and logistics, for moving goods or people
  • warehouse or office space, for medical use or storage
  • hotel rooms
  • manufacturing equipment
  • protective equipment for healthcare workers, such as masks, gowns and sanitiser

To offer support click here.

 

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