UK-based airline CEOs unite to call for Government aviation recovery roadmap announcement
February 18th, 2021
- Aviation must be included in Prime Minister’s 22 February roadmap speech alongside other sectors say CEOs
- Airlines write to Prime Minister proposing a risk-based approach to reopen travel safely with a progressive removal of restrictions as vaccination levels increase in the UK
- Sectoral economic support for UK aviation required to bridge to the recovery and stimulate passenger demand when sector returns
CEOs from leading UK-based airlines, employing tens of thousands of people and connecting passengers to hundreds of destinations within the UK, Europe and across the Atlantic, have united to call for the Prime Minister to ensure an aviation recovery roadmap is announced next week. The roadmap is critical for both airlines and consumers alike to enable them to plan for the summer and is needed to pave the way for the safe reopening of international travel.
The CEOs of British Airways, easyJet, Jet2.com, Loganair, Ryanair, Tui and Virgin Atlantic, have warned that without a clear indication of intent from the Government that aviation will restart in the coming months the UK faces a year of limited connectivity to the rest of the world, and the UK’s economic recovery will be hampered. UK-based airlines have today written to the Prime Minister to propose a framework that would allow for the safe restart of travel as vaccination levels increase in the UK.
This risk-based approach would enable the safe restart of travel, by progressively removing the current layers of restrictions applied to travel destinations, on a tiered basis, in time for the summer. This will allow people to visit their family and friends abroad, re-establish business contacts and go on holiday.
The sector has also called for further sectoral economic support for UK aviation to bridge to the recovery and stimulate and strengthen any recovery when it comes.
- Tim Alderslade, CEO of Airlines UK, said: “The Prime Minister needs to indicate on the 22nd the intent for international travel to reopen again this summer and provide much-needed reassurance that travel will be possible, helping to restore consumer confidence. We do not expect travel restrictions to be lifted tomorrow – but it is important that the country has a clear view on the plan for international travel as we emerge from lockdown. We expect every other domestic economic sector – from hospitality to retail to leisure – will have a roadmap announced on the 22nd. So must aviation.”
- Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet, said: “We know people are looking for some reassurance about when they will be able to return to some normality. To be able to achieve this we need to know that Government is planning for travel to return when it is safe and stand ready to work with them on a roadmap that could help us reunite people with their loved-ones or enable people to take a much-needed holiday this year.”
- Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com, said: “Providing a roadmap and the means to restore international travel this summer, is vital not only for the economy, but also to give people the hope of visiting their friends and relatives, as well as looking forward to well-deserved holidays once travel can safely be restored.”
- Jonathan Hinkles, CEO of Loganair, said: “Restrictions today are so draconian that many UK airports are considering outright closure, which will destroy even the limited connectivity maintained without fail throughout the pandemic for movement of freight and key workers. The loss of more jobs – which we’ve worked so hard to avoid – would be a hammer blow to the industry. The only way to avoid this is to provide a business reason for airports to stay open, and that can only be done by the Government setting out a pathway to re-open travel just as soon as this can safely be achieved.”
- David Burling, CEO Airline and Markets for TUI Group, said: “We believe there’s a safe way to restart international travel by lifting travel restrictions on a country-by-country basis – ensuring that we continue to protect our health systems and the vaccine, but without imposing unnecessary restrictions. Customers are looking for reassurance about when a holiday abroad may be possible, and it is therefore vital that the Government supports the travel industry by working with us on a pragmatic roadmap on the 22nd February.”
- Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, said: “We all know how important it is to protect the achievements gained through lockdown and the amazing vaccine rollout. Indeed, public health and protecting the NHS must come first. However, aviation, and free movement of people and goods, are crucial to the UK’s economic recovery and the emergence of a truly Global Britain as it recovers from the crisis. That’s why it’s important aviation is included in the Prime Minister’s roadmap on Monday.”
- Sean Doyle, CEO of British Airways, said: “The aviation industry stands with the Government in putting public health at the top of its agenda, but the future of the British economy and the jobs of hundreds of thousands of people are at risk without a sensible and structured plan to safely restart international travel over the coming months. Britons have made enormous personal sacrifices and we hope that the Government will soon provide a plan to allow people to be re-united”.
- Eddie Wilson, CEO of Ryanair DAC, said: “Vaccinations are the way out of this Covid crisis and to date, the UK’s rollout plan has progressed extremely well, which gives a clear pathway to the lifting of restrictions. Equally, the UK should have a clear set of milestones linked to vaccination levels in other countries, particularly within the EU, to allow inbound tourism to rebound for summer 2021”.
Notes to Editors:
Economic support measures UK airlines are calling for include:
- 100% furlough support at least until the end of the IATA summer season in October
- 12-month APD waiver and removal of double taxation anomaly for domestic aviation
- Regulatory alleviation / support for ongoing cost base separate to furlough
- If there is no roadmap to recovery for this summer, aviation is going to need a bespoke support package from Government so that we retain a vibrant and competitive UK airline sector