The International Air Transport Association has outlined the need for an urgent rescue plan for UK aviation, in the face of what it brands an “imminent unemployment catastrophe”.
The United Kingdom is experiencing an air transport crisis, which threatens to put more than 820,000 people out of work across the entire UK economy, IATA said.
The damage has been exacerbated by government policies, particularly the imposition of quarantine measures which kill demand for air travel.
Without immediate action, the UK will fall behind international partners and will quickly lose its coveted position as the third biggest global aviation market, the trade body said.
In order to resume air connectivity and save thousands of jobs, the UK government must set out a rescue plan for UK aviation.
IATA proposes a four-point plan to outline a roadmap for lifting quarantine measures and create a short-term boost to demand:
- A testing regime, to unlock travel from high-risk countries.
- A review of the infection threshold for quarantine that is fully transparent and aligned with international partners.
- A suspension of Air Passenger Duty to kick-start demand.
- Extending the furlough scheme for the air transport sector until border restrictions are lifted and the industry has a chance to recover.
“The stop-start-stop closing of the UK to the world is not a successful survival tactic for Covid-19.
“Without a rescue plan, 820,000 jobs will be vaporized by quarantine and they may never come back.
“The answer is a COVID-19 testing regime that manages the risk to keep people safe from the virus. And it will avoid apocalyptic unemployment that is sure to devastate society and the economy,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA director general.