UK airlines respond to furlough scheme extension

November 5th, 2020

Responding to the announcement today by the Chancellor that the furlough scheme will be extended to the end of March, Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, the industry association representing UK-registered carriers, said:

“This is a welcome announcement and all the more important with aviation now essentially closed following the new lockdown travel restrictions. Furlough extension will enable carriers to retain more of the key staff and highly skilled roles that will be essential for when demand returns, but which otherwise would be at real risk.

“However, wage support covers only a portion of the high cost base airlines must cover simply to exist, and carriers face this new lockdown in a far weaker position than when the crisis started in March. Airlines – which have spent the past few months desperately cutting costs and taking on billions of pounds of collective additional debt – urgently need access to further liquidity measures to shore up their balance sheets, and the immediate introduction of a UK testing regime instead of blanket quarantine, to provide much needed certainty for customers so they can travel again with confidence.”