Regional Airports: Coronavirus

Department for Transport written question – answered on 3rd September 2020.

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Photo of Catherine McKinnell Catherine McKinnell Chair, Petitions Committee, Chair, Petitions Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 pandemic on the financial situation of regional airports.

Photo of Kelly Tolhurst Kelly Tolhurst Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The Government recognises the challenges facing the aviation sector as a result of Covid-19, and has engaged with airports on an ongoing basis to understand the impacts on their operational and financial positions. It is vitally important that key sectors such as aviation are protected, and we are working closely with the sector to this end.

Airports have been able to draw on the unprecedented package of economic measures the Government has put in place to support businesses through the pandemic. This includes a Bank of England scheme for firms to raise capital, two business interruption loan guarantee schemes for different sizes of business, Time to Pay flexibilities with tax bills, financial support for employees and VAT deferrals

However, if regional airports, or other businesses across the sector, still find themselves in severe and urgent financial difficulty as a result of Covid-19 then we remain open to discussions about bespoke financial support as a last resort. Any intervention would need to be on terms to protect the interests of taxpayers.

We will continue to work with airports to understand their positions and to consider any future requests for bespoke support.

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