The UK Prime Minister’s announcement that domestic and international leisure travel will be banned during the second lockdown has come as yet another blow for the airline sector and the thousands of people who work in it. Airlines, airports, handling companies and many others who provide services to this vital sector are struggling to survive and are desperate for Government support.
The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA), the airline pilots’ union, has issued six demands of the Government:
1. A commitment to end the ban on leisure travel by 2nd December
2. Sector-specific financial compensation ring-fenced away from shareholders
3. A 12-month waiver of Air Passenger Duty
4. A moratorium on any further job losses to prevent long-lasting damage to the sector
5. The roll-out of airport COVID-19 testing at the end of lockdown as an alternative to the ever-changing quarantine and lockdown restrictions. This would give passengers the confidence to book and travel
6. The urgent publication of the Government’s promised Relaunch and Recovery Plan
Brian Strutton, BALPA’s general secretary, said, “If the Government were determined to destroy the airline industry they couldn’t be doing a better job right now. We’ve had promise after promise of sector support and have seen none.
“In the meantime, hundreds of pilots and thousands of other workers have lost their jobs, and thousands more have taken pay cuts or are working part-time. This is crunch time. We need action now. The Government simply must respond if it wants a functioning airline industry to exist after the winter to power our economic recovery post-Covid.”