IATA and BAR UK call for the sector to be included in recovery plans

Both associations believe Boris Johnson needs to include plans for the aviation industry in his address on February 22

A joint paper put together by the Board of Airline Representatives (BAR UK) and The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has been released, outlining the importance of the government working with the industry to safely reopen air travel.

IATA has called upon the government to lay out plans for the lifting of border restrictions and the reopening of commercial aviation, ahead of the prime minister’s announcement on February 22.

Gatwick Airport
Photo Gatwick Airport 

With current border restrictions in place, the association believe that there is no chance of recovery in air transport and the negative impacts being placed on the industry will continue – further damaging the UK economy.

“We recognise that the government has a difficult balancing act between unlocking the economy and safeguarding public health,” said Rafeal Schwartzman, IATA’s regional vice president of Europe. We are not demanding a date for border restrictions to be lifted. But Prime Minister Johnson must set out a vision for how international travel can and will be restarted as the pandemic ends. That vision would include explaining how a phased reduction of restrictions would work, and the levels to which infections or hospitalisations would need to fall to trigger those reductions. With this science-based approach locked in, the industry and the public will have the certainty to plan for take-off,”

The sector which was once thriving – supporting around 960,000 jobs and proving £57 billion in GDP – is now struggling to stay afloat. This is why the IATA and BAR believe that it is critical the government include aviation in the plans to start softening lockdown restrictions within the UK.

Dale Keller, chief executive of BAR UK, believes measures put in place previously by the government were “inconsistent and poorly aligned”.

“The best minds in the industry and government must come together to develop and implement a well thought out and workable plan that is needed to restore the UK’s international connectivity. The airline industry has tremendous expertise available to the government on effective scenario planning and our thought leadership on a pathway to safely reopening international travel poses the practical questions and ideas that need to be worked through.”