Ryanair, Jet2, easyJet, TUI, BA and Virgin Atlantic plead with Chancellor Rishi Sunak for airline support
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is urged by UK airlines to fund new “targeted economic support measures” to protect thousands of jobs in the industry after the travel list was updated.
Members of UK airlines, including Ryanair, Jet2, easyJet, TUI, BA and Virgin Atlantic, say the debts they incurred during the pandemic are “not sustainable any longer”.
Bosses warn more jobs “will be at risk without government action to reopen travel or provide additional support.”
It comes after Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced last week that Portugal – one of the only major viable destinations on the original green travel list – was removed and placed on the Amber List.
This means all holidaymakers returning to the UK must take two Covid-19 tests and self-quarantine for 10 days.
Other countries have also switched from amber to red red, requiring quarantine in hotels, including Egypt, Sri Lanka and Costa Rica.
In a letter to Mr Sunak, Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade said their members were entering “the vital summer season still unable to trade” due to government travel restrictions.
Alderslade explains in the letter that the UK travel sector “has been hit particularly hard” with production down 90%, according to recent ONS data, compared to 9.9% for the wider economy .
He added: “UK airlines alone have announced more than 30,000 job cuts, as well as billions in pre-tax losses.”
TravelWeekly reports that the letter tells the Chancellor: “The Global Travel Taskforce has promised a restart of international travel from May 17.
“However, despite the evidence supporting the establishment of an expansive green list, no market of significant size is on the green list, with Portugal’s withdrawal likely to further destabilize the industry and undermine consumer sentiment.
“The government continues to advise against travel to Amber Countries, which means air travel will remain virtually closed until at least July.”
“If a meaningful reopening is not possible, targeted economic support will be essential. . . to protect tens of thousands of jobs.
“Most of the £ 7.2 billion in government support to UK airlines has been assumed in the form of new debt, [with] just over £ 1 billion in direct leave aid [which] is available for all sectors of the economy, even those that have been able to function for the entire time or restart substantially. “
What do Airlines UK members ask for?
– 100% aviation support until end of April 2022 and clarity support will not decrease from end of June as expected.
– An extension of repayment terms for the government-facilitated Covid Business Finance Facility (CCFF) and Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Program (CLBILS), and an extension of commercial rate relief to Airlines companies.
– A new ‘restart subsidy’ program, based on excess capacity airlines maintain but not operate compared to 2019 – a form of ‘aircraft leave’ with subsidies tied to the impact of restrictions.
The association is also requesting a meeting with the Chancellor, noting: “The current traffic light framework does not reflect the risk of displacement nor facilitate safe travel as it should.
“The frame is to be adjusted by the checkpoint by June 28 at the latest to provide a route for vaccinated people to travel without restriction, lower restrictions for green countries and make the amber category usable. “
The government has not confirmed an exact date for the next travel review, but it is expected to take place on Thursday, June 24.
Any changes to the green, orange and red list should come into effect at the start of the following week.
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