Creating and chairing the Future of Aviation Group

The importance of support for the aviation sector through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond is a key factor in the continued success of Crawley’s economy.

With Gatwick Airport in our borough’s boundary the salience of this industry cannot be underestimated.

Alongside parliamentary colleagues I have created and am chairing the Future of Aviation Group, which is highlighting 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 UK aviation, working with key industry bodies, trade unions, tourism groups, local business organisations, plus regional and local authorities.

We have raised a number of issues with the Transport Secretary including over the Government’s proposals for a 14 day quarantine period. If this was to be introduced at all it should have been brought in months ago, rather than being started now.

A further issue we have raised is over what additional support can be provided to local authorities and the aviation supply chain until passenger numbers increase. Support for this sector is about far more than the airlines and the personalities which are household names. It is about the jobs and the people employed through the wider Gatwick family.

Measures introduced by the Government have helped businesses throughout the sector to an important extent. Our call to ministers is that there remains more to do to enable our aviation industry to survive in a form that the nation needs.

Urgent action is required to safeguard jobs, the UK’s place as an aviation hub, and to ensure our economy recovers from the impacts of COVID-19.

Around the country including here in Crawley, aviation will be vital to the economic recovery, not least as a global island trading nation.

Henry Smith MP