UK airlines welcome Job Retention Scheme extension but more action required to protect world-leading aviation sector

Responding to the announcement by the Chancellor that the Job Retention Scheme will be extended until the end of October, Tim Alderslade, CEO of Airlines UK, the industry association representing UK-registered carriers, said:

“This is a welcome announcement and we are pleased that from August staff will be allowed to come back to work part-time. With aviation’s recovery due to be prolonged and uncertain owing to ongoing travel restrictions, including the 14-day quarantine period proposed by the Government, more action is needed to protect our world leading aviation sector. Our focus remains on working with Government on the measures required to allow for an effective re-start and recovery of our industry.”



Aviation CEO letter to the Prime Minister about proposed quarantine measures

Airline and airport CEOs have written to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressing their concern about the proposed quarantine for arriving passengers into the UK.

The letter is attached below.

UK airlines respond to 14-day quarantine for arriving passengers announcement

Responding to the announcement due to be made this evening by the Prime Minister of a 14-day quarantine period for passengers arriving into the UK, Tim Alderslade, CEO of Airlines UK, the industry association representing UK-registered carriers, said:

“Public health must of course be the priority and we respect the Sage advice. We all – including Government – need to adapt to the new normal but closing off air travel in this way is not the way to achieve this. Ministers are effectively telling people they can no longer travel for the foreseeable future and airlines will respond to that by grounding their operations – and that is why they require urgent additional Government support to get through this growing crisis.”


We now need to see a package of cross-industry measures announced including an urgent decision on extending the Job Retention Scheme to October, and holidays on the paying of Air Passenger Duty and charges including ATC and CAA.


“A proposal that would effectively kill international travel to and from UK” – UK airlines respond to speculation around 14-day quarantine for passengers arriving at UK airports

Responding to speculation that passengers arriving at UK airports will be compelled to enter a 14-day quarantine period as part of Government Covid-19 measures, Airlines UK, the industry association representing UK-registered carriers, said:

“This proposal would effectively kill international travel to and from the UK and cause immeasurable damage to the aviation industry and wider UK economy. Nobody is going to go on holiday if they’re not able to resume normal life for 14 days, and business travel would be severely restricted. It will also make it all but impossible for aviation to resume any time soon, thereby setting back the UK’s economic recovery still further.”

Airlines welcome Government decision on deferring Air Navigation charges, but further longer-term measures needed to help carriers through unprecedented downturn

Responding to the decision by the Department for Transport to join countries across Europe in deferring the payment of Air Navigation charges for February to May 2020, for a period of 14 months, Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, the industry association representing UK-registered carriers, said:

“This is welcome news and we thank the Government for voting in favour for the proposals. Whilst it will help with short-term liquidity, it only refers to ATC charges for February to May, a period in which global aviation has virtually ground to a halt and charges for airlines would’ve been substantially reduced anyway. Further measures, including extending this deferral or ideally waiving ATC charges for the whole year, and doing likewise with other costs like CAA charges, will also be needed to help get airlines through this unprecedented downturn.”

MPs & former Aviation Ministers write to Chancellor to call for more support for sector to deal with COVID-19

Almost 40 cross-party Members of Parliament have written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to call for more support for the UK aviation industry to deal with the impacts of COVID-19.

The letter – attached – stresses that whilst welcome, the measures announced thus far by the Chancellor to support the UK economy “will not be enough (for aviation) and you have righty indicated that further industry-wide measures will be considered to both support the sector through the crisis, and enable its recovery.” It further states:

“Airlines, airports, air navigation service providers, travel retailers and ground handlers have made clear to Government the support they need. We believe the Government should review these measures urgently, to safeguard jobs and the UK’s international competitivities as an aviation hub. This should include liquidity support where necessary, cost alleviations – including on a range of taxes and industry charges, regulatory easements and the adaptation of the Job Retention Scheme to take account of the unique aviation context. Industry, meanwhile, stands ready to work in partnership with Government by putting in place their own measures to assist with the effort.”

  • Robert Goodwill MP, former Aviation Minister, said: “It’s vital that when our battered and bruised economy emerges from this Covid-19 nightmare that we have an aviation sector that will be in a position to play its part in restoring the jobs and connectivity that the U.K. relies on in so many ways. This means ensuring that airlines, airports, aerospace engineering companies and the travel sector are given the “life support” required to survive this whirlwind in the short term to secure the industry’s long term future.”
  • Paul Maynard MP, former Aviation Minister, said: “At a time of unprecedented pressures for government, many sectors are clamouring for help. Our airlines and airports will be an essential part of our recovery, however, so if shareholders and investors do their bit in standing behind their airlines or airports, I really hope Government can consider how to support the sector’s resilience as a whole.”
  • Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, and Karen Dee, Chief Executive of the Airport Operators Association, said: “Aviation is one of the key enablers of the UK economy – without it we cannot trade or visit family and friends or do business – and more than a million people are employed in the sector. Now we are seeing airports start to close their doors and revenue – for both airlines and airports – fall to practically zero. Yet we need a healthy aviation industry to support the UK’s recovery from the pandemic.

“We’ve put countless cross-industry ideas on the table to help aviation through this, and the Chancellor said in his letter this week he was open to discussing them, yet no discussion has yet taken place. We ae now entering the danger zone, and we urge Government to change tack and start to engage on a sector-wide basis before it’s too late.”

Airlines respond to latest clarity from Chancellor on aviation support package from COVID-19 impacts

Commenting on the latest clarity provided by the Chancellor on the aviation support package to deal with the impacts of COVID-19 on the sector, Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, the industry body representing UK-registered airlines, said:

“We welcome the announcement that Government will enter into negotiations with individual airlines seeking additional bespoke support, recognising the fundamental importance of the aviation sector to the UK economy and the particular challenges faced by airlines in the face of travel restrictions that have all but eliminated airline revenue, but not airline costs, which are substantial and not solely restricted to wages.  

“It is essential that the economy-wide measures announced thus far are implemented as quickly as possible, with accompanying further guidance, to support airlines through this unprecedented period and, alongside any additional bespoke or sector-wide measures, enable aviation to support a strong UK recovery from the current crisis in the months ahead.”

Government and airlines working to get British passengers affected by Coronavirus back to the UK

British tourists abroad should check the website of their travel provider and Foreign Office travel advice for the latest information.

  • government is working with industry to ensure they can continue to get British nationals abroad back to the UK, in light of border restrictions in place across the world
  • Transport Secretary today chaired a call with airlines and airports, following the additional financial support for businesses announced yesterday by the Chancellor
  • DfT and Treasury working to agree series of measures in coming days which will help the aviation sector get through the coronavirus pandemic

The government and UK airlines are continuing to work closely together to ensure British passengers overseas are able to return home through commercial means in light of the impact on overseas travel.

Many countries have introduced border restrictions and closed hotels since the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic began and during a call today (18 March 2020), both the airline industry and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps underlined their commitment to helping those currently overseas to return to the UK.

The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, chaired the calls with major airlines and airports earlier today, where he confirmed that the Department for Transport and the Treasury will work together to develop a range of measures to support the industry in the coming days to help the aviation sector manage the impacts of coronavirus. Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, said:

Coronavirus is having a crippling impact on the aviation industry and we cannot allow it to force world-leading, well-run, profitable firms out of business.

We are extremely grateful to airport and airline teams who are continuing to help passengers get home safely. We stand firmly behind the sector and expect to announce a series of support measures shortly.

But we also need to send a message to any British passengers overseas who are planning to return to the UK soon – it’s important to take account of the fast-moving situation and plan accordingly while flights remain available in many places.

Tim Alderslade, chief executive Airlines UK, said:

Coronavirus has had a devastating impact on the airline sector, leading to an unprecedented fall in demand and a world-class UK industry facing a truly uncertain future. The promise from government to step in with a bespoke package of support for aviation to get us through the coming months is therefore very welcome, and we are currently working with ministers to go through the detail of what this might entail and hope an announcement will be made in the coming days.

In the meantime, we are working round the clock to bring home passengers stranded overseas, and will continue with these efforts, and we do urge passengers to check their airline’s website and where there are options to come home take them as soon as they can.

The Transport Secretary and the Aviation Minister have been in constant communication with the aviation industry since the Coronavirus outbreak, to ensure the government is fully informed about the challenges facing the sector. British tourists abroad should check the website of their travel provider and Foreign Office travel advice for the latest information.

Aviation, Europe and technology media enquiries

Airlines welcome commitment to bespoke package of measures to support aviation sector

Commenting on the announcement by the Chancellor that a bespoke package of measures would be agreed on aviation with respect to alleviating the impacts of COVID-19, Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, the industry body representing UK-registered airlines, said:

“This is welcome news and it’s very positive the Chancellor has promised a bespoke package for aviation. Clearly the detail will be important and we will want to see something sooner rather later, but we look forward to starting these discussions with Government in the coming days.”

Airlines UK statement on impact of coronavirus on airline sector

Commenting on the impact of coronavirus on the UK airline industry, Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, the industry body representing UK-registered airlines, said:

“The current challenges faced by the UK airline sector are truly unprecedented, and stark. Even just days ago, the idea that airlines across the globe would be cancelling thousands of flights and grounding aircraft on the current scale would have been unthinkable. Yet, this is the situation we see today, with carriers managing both the devastating impact of the collapse in demand for flying as people stay home, alongside the daily operational challenges of responding to border closures, travel restrictions and new health protocols.

“The situation is now truly critical. COVID-19 risks a lasting and irreversible effect on the health of the UK’s aviation industry – the third largest in the world – and the future for UK airlines is indeed now uncertain.”