UK Aviation Needs Recovery Amid the Pandemic

Aviation Industry

The Aviation industry has been “devastated” due to the coronavirus pandemic and needs a government recovery plan to come out of this depression.

The airlines, airports, and holiday firms are not earning enough revenues due to international travel restrictions and customer confidence has collapsed.

Huw Merriman, chair of the Transport Select Committee, was speaking after the government’s response to the committee’s report on the state of the aviation industry.

The MP for Bexhill and Battle did not appreciate the current system imposing 14 days of self-isolation for travelers arriving in the UK from most countries.

Mr. Merriman said, “The government’s quarantine regime, coupled with a refusal to endorse airport testing to reduce the quarantine period, adds further barriers to travel.”

Aviation Industry’s Request

However, airlines and airports are urging to start a two-stage test on arrival at airports. This will allow the arriving travelers who test negative twice for Covid-19 not to quarantine.

But still, ministers are following the government’s insistence that testing was not a “silver bullet” to allow the easing of restrictions.

Government’s Response

A government spokesperson said, “Any potential change to the testing for arrivals would need to be robust in minimizing the chance that positive cases are missed.”

Due to the pandemic, thousands of people are losing their jobs in the travel industry. The pandemic crisis is majorly affecting the aviation industry thus needs a recovery plan. But British Airways came in the limelight for having massive layoffs.

Taking Advantage Of The Pandemic

MPs accused BA of “a calculated attempt to take advantage of the pandemic. To cut jobs and weaken the terms and conditions of its remaining employees”.

Their report said, “The behavior of British Airways and its parent company towards its employees is a national disgrace. It falls well below the standards we would expect from any employer. Especially in light of the scale of taxpayer subsidy, at this time of national crisis.”

In response, the government said, “The British Airways’ proposal to make up to 12,000 members of staff redundant will be very distressing news for British Airways employees and their families. Other airlines have also announced that they are considering significant redundancies.”

“These are commercial decisions but they are decisions which, nevertheless, the government profoundly regrets.”

Mr. Merriman said, “British Airways’ ‘fire and rehire’ policy has rightly attracted criticism from government ministers and the prime minister himself.”

“It is disappointing that direct legislative action has not been enacted to make this type of action unlawful.”

A British Airways spokesperson said, “We are acting now to protect as many jobs as possible. The airline industry is facing the deepest structural change in its history. As well as facing a severely weakened global economy.”

However, before the coronavirus pandemic, aviation was worth at least £14bn to national GDP. And directly provided more than 130,000 jobs across the UK.

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