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How BALPA has responded to the coronavirus crisis

by Brian Strutton General Secretary

A few months ago, no-one had heard of coronavirus and no one could have predicted the huge impact it has had on the world. It’s fair to say that the world looks very different today than three months ago.

Aviation, at the forefront of the crisis, has taken a huge hit. With travel restrictions in place globally it’s meant airlines have had to adapt, fleets have been grounded and pilots find themselves in a time of huge uncertainly.
Throughout this all, BALPA has and will be here to support its members, protect jobs and fight to ensure the industry survives this crisis.

Back on the 13th of March, with many countries closing their borders and aircraft being grounded, BALPA appealed to the Government to act urgently to support the industry through coronavirus.

Since then we have kept the pressure up. In a speech last Tuesday, the Prime Minister indicated that the Government was to put forward a package of measures to support aviation. BALPA was pleased the Government had recognised the importance of the industry and the need for action, but called immediately for more details. But, more than a week on, we are still waiting for details of this.

BALPA has continued to press for this to be addressed. We have held regular (remote) meetings with the Department for Transport to push for immediate and extensive help from the Government. These meetings will continue.

I have also undertaken numerous interviews with the world’s media, aimed at keeping the issue in the public eye and keeping pressure on the Government to move swiftly.

BALPA staff have migrated to temporary homeworking to maintain a seamless service to members and company councils. Our reps and national officers have been in constant contact with members and airlines to ensure any measures put in place to mitigate this downturn in travel are reasonable and fair. BALPA has been working to encourage airlines to think creatively about how to weather this storm and avoid, where possible, compulsory redundancies.

No-one knows how long this crisis will last and what the full impact will be on UK aviation. But rest assured BALPA is here for its members, fighting to ensure the UK aviation industry survives this pandemic.