Aviation: Coronavirus

Department for Transport written question – answered on 31st July 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further (1) to the statement by the Airport Operators Association that airports may have lost at least £4 billion in revenue by the end of 2020, and (2) the job losses in the aviation sector, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what steps they are taking to assist financially the aviation industry. [T]

Photo of Baroness Vere of Norbiton Baroness Vere of Norbiton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The Government recognises the challenging times facing the aviation sector as a result of COVID-19. The aviation sector is crucial to the UK’s economy and businesses across the industry will be able to draw on the unprecedented package of economic measures we have put in place during this time.

This includes a Bank of England scheme for firms to raise capital and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme which facilitates access to finance for businesses affected by the outbreak. Firms are also able to access ‘Time to Pay’ scheme which eases restrictions with tax bills and VAT deferrals.

The Government is also ensuring financial support for employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme covering 80% of furloughed employees’ usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, alongside the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and pension contributions.

The Department is in close contact with the aviation sector ensuring that the Government is kept fully aware of the latest developments with all firms and to understand where additional policy measures may be useful and to address specific industry issues.

The Department has established a Restart and Recovery Unit for aviation. The unit will immediately focus on restart, in particular:

  • Examining new standards on health and wellbeing across the customer journey;

  • Measures needed to sustain and boost the sector;

  • Ensuring new standards are established at an international level; and

  • Engagement with the sector to ensure the proposals developed are fit for purpose.

The unit will also focus on establishing a clear vision and objectives for the sector looking forward to the recovery phase. We are working closely with the aviation sector to support it to ensure there is sufficient capacity to protect global travel routes, continue repatriation, freight and maintain vital connectivity.

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