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Pilots call on the Government and EU to support aviation though the coronavirus crisis.

The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) says the Government and EU must act now to put in place measures to support the aviation industry through the unprecedented, difficult times that have been brought about by Coronavirus.

Covid-19 is already having an impact on forward bookings and this is expected to continue. Airlines are now looking to mitigate these costs by reducing flights, considering unpaid leave, part-time working and pay, and promotion and recruitment freezes for their staff.

BALPA understands the unprecedented nature of the crisis and is working with airlines to agree sensible, proportionate measures.

But BALPA says what is really needed is support from the Government to tackle this exceptional circumstance. The pilots’ union is reminding the Government that coronavirus was one of the pressures that sealed the fate of Flybe and is calling for measures to support the aviation industry to be put in place urgently.

Specifically, BALPA is asking the Government to pledge to support the industry though the crisis and to push for EU restrictions on slot allocations to be lifted, so that airlines do not have to operate unnecessary ‘ghost flights’.

BALPA General Secretary, Brian Strutton said:

“No-one wants to see another Flybe situation. This coronavirus outbreak is unprecedented, and a speedy Government response is vital to help the aviation industry weather the storm.

“We urge the Government to act now to relieve the pressure on airlines and push for the EU to lift rules which are causing airlines to run costly, empty flights, simply to keep their slot.

“At the same time, BALPA is supporting its members though this outbreak and is working with airlines to agree sensible proportionate measures are put in place.”