Please click HERE to view the letter sent by the APPG-GA to the Chancellor on 20th April.
Signed by APPG Co-Chair Lord Davies, the letter stresses the critical situation now facing the UK’s aviation sector:
“Members [of Parliament] are extremely concerned that the UK’s vital aviation industry faces an existential threat due to the Coronavirus pandemic.”
Aviation contributes more than £22 billion to the UK economy, employing more than 230,000 people, but has been hit harder than almost any other industry by the current global crisis — while fully playing its part providing transportation as part of the solution, and keeping infrastructure open for emergency services, transport of medical personnel and equipment, etc.
The COVID-19 pandemic has “fundamentally undermined demand for global aviation” with airlines and airports experiencing heavy financial losses, says the letter, which stresses that that many aviation businesses will require “direct support” from the Government in order to survive.
“Whilst the employee furlough scheme has been fantastic… what airports urgently need is assistance in securing their liquidity and relief from banking covenants. Government has it within their gift to …relieve airports of their tax burden temporarily…
“Therefore, we ask that HM Treasury takes serious action to reduce levels of taxation levied on airports during this time of national emergency.”
The APPG also points out that some airports are concerned about asking for business rates relief because their local Council is also their landlord.
“We hope that HM Treasury will be able to work with local authorities and issue guidance to encourage more of them to support their airfields through temporary relief from Business Rates.”
The letter concludes: “It took the global aviation industry four years to return to profit following the shock of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001. It will take just as long, if not longer, for the industry to get back onto its feet after the disruption caused by COVID-19.
“Government therefore needs to commit to supporting the sector for the long term, not just until the danger of the virus has passed.”
The APPG-GA concludes by recommending that the Government sets up a cross-departmental committee consisting of executives from important national airports and airlines “to coordinate a programme of support for the industry in the years ahead.”