UK aviation needs government support for new lockdown pain: airport boss

In this news, we discuss the UK aviation needs government support for new lockdown pain: airport boss.

LONDON (Reuters) – UK airports and airlines need urgent support to survive ‘very grim future’ posed by a new lockdown in England, the boss of one of the biggest airport groups warned from the country.

The very low levels of travel in recent months have put airlines and airports under further financial pressure after they were effectively shut down during Britain’s first lockdown, and they now face another month without income during his second.

“An urgent support package must come to fruition,” Manchester Airport Group (MAG) managing director Charlie Cornish said in a statement on Monday.

He said the new lockdown for England, which is due to begin on Thursday and which bans international pleasure travel, will render parts of the aviation industry unsustainable.

Before the pandemic, Britain had a thriving aviation industry. Air transport and supply chain activities as well as tourist arrivals supported 1.6 million jobs and accounted for 4.5% of UK GDP according to an IATA study.

But more than 20,000 jobs have now been lost at British airlines like British Airways ICAG.L and easyJet EZJ.L, and Heathrow, once Europe’s busiest airport, has lost its crown to Paris.

Industry executives blame the UK government’s 14-day quarantine rules and the relatively slow adoption of allowing testing to replace the need for isolation, to exacerbate the pain.

Industry bodies Airlines UK and the Airport Operators Association have called on the government to ease corporate fares for airports, remove the tax on air passenger rights and quickly put in place a testing regime to save jobs.

In addition to employment support programs, Britain provided additional help to train and bus operators and the hospitality industry during the crisis, but aviation was ignored, bosses say , despite promises made by the Minister of Finance in March.

“The government has neglected UK aviation and the role it plays in our economy since day one of this pandemic,” said Cornish, whose MAG owns Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports.

France and Germany have both provided state-backed bailouts to help Air France-KLM AIRF.PA and Lufthansa LHAG.DE survive the crisis.

Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

Original © Thomson Reuters

Originally posted 2020-11-02 21:56:09.

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