To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Office for National Statistics release, Coronavirus and the impact on output in the UK economy: December 2020, published on 12 February 2021, what assessment his Department has made of the benefits to economic recovery of an aviation recovery package.
Before Covid-19, aviation directly contributed at least £22 billion GDP to the UK economy and supported around half a million jobs. This included the air transport and aerospace sectors, as well as the wider supply chain. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, the aviation sector has been one of the worst affected sectors in the UK. Passenger numbers at UK airports fell by 99% at the height of the pandemic. Overall volumes of flight traffic in the UK is currently around 80% below equivalent 2019 levels. The air transport sector’s contribution to the UK economy dropped by 75% in 2020 compared to 2019.
The Department recognises the severe impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on travel, and work continues to understand how best the industry can be supported at this time. The Government is working on a strategic framework for the recovery of the sector. It will explore the return to growth of the aviation sector, and will include consideration of workforce and skills, regional connectivity, noise, innovation and regulation, and consumer issues.
In addition, through the Global Travel Taskforce, the Government will work closely with the industry to find ways to safely and gradually ease restrictions on international travel. We will set out more detail on this soon.