Henry Smith MP has launched a new cross-party group of MPs to fight for the future of UK aviation after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Crawley MP is Chair of the Future of Aviation Group which will seek to highlight the importance of a vibrant aviation sector to consumers, businesses and the overall UK economy. The Group is urging ministers to introduce measures to support the recovery of the UK’s aviation sector.
“It is of course right that public health concerns remain the Government’s most urgent priority, but the level of support from MPs from all sides and from all regions reflects the pressing need for the Government to provide much more support to our aviation sector, given that aviation is one of the sectors worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Aviation will be vital to our long-term economic recovery at national and local levels and it is high time that Government avoid any further delay and introduce financial measures that support the aviation industry; the businesses, employees and the communities who depend on it.
“We cannot allow Britain’s economic and social recovery to be held back through a failure to support our aviation industry. As a global, island trading nation the consequences of continuing inaction are unthinkable.”
The Group has written to the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, setting out several urgent questions about the Government’s actions to date together with demands for further urgent policy intervention.
The letter to the Secretary of State raises several points, including:
- How often will the 14-day quarantine period be reviewed, and will Government prioritise ‘air bridges’ to restart safe travel to and from low risk countries?
- What discussions have been held at an international level to find a Common International Standard for aviation health protocols to build consumer confidence?
- What discussions have been held with local authorities and airport representatives regarding central Government support for business rates relief?
- What consideration has been given to financial measures to support the restart of domestic aviation and to protect vital regional routes?
- What additional support can be made available to local authorities and the aviation supply chain until passenger numbers increase?
- What assessment has been made of the importance of aviation to the nation's economic recovery?
- What assessment has been made of the likely timescale of the recovery of businesses in the tourism sector who are reliant on international tourism?
- What assessment has been made of the opportunity to support low carbon aviation technologies as a way to support UK economic recovery and help aviation deliver its net zero commitment?
The creation of the Future of Aviation Group is Henry’s latest intervention on this issue.
“With Gatwick Airport being such a key local employer I’m very conscious of the Crawley economy being reliant on the aviation and travel industry.
“I’ll continue my representations with ministers, airports and airlines on behalf of the Crawley workers, families, businesses and customers for whom this sector is so important.”
Please click the link below to read the letter.
Notes to Editors:
The Future of Aviation Group has been formed by Henry Smith MP in partnership with the Airport Operators Association, Airlines UK, IATA and other industry figures. All MPs have been invited to join, as will representatives from Local Government and local and national business groups.
The Group will be run by a steering committee consisting of its Chair and Vice Chairs.