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British pilots unite to demand a pathway out of restrictions and financial support for U.K. aviation

Almost 7000 UK based pilots have today written to the Prime Minister ahead of the publication the Government’s roadmap for lifting restrictions to press for the inclusion of aviation, travel and tourism and for the urgent introduction of an Aviation, Travel and Tourism Recovery Plan that includes financial support.

The letter which was organised by pilots union BALPA and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Future of Aviation acknowledges the need for public health measures but highlights that it is ‘beyond doubt that the sector has reached breaking point’ and that the ‘aviation industry remains in a moment of crisis and the need for action is both urgent and essential.’

As a result of the collapse in passenger numbers, thousands of pilots have either lost their jobs or have been placed on furlough with many worried about the impact the current restrictions will have on their livelihoods.

They are calling for:

  • An extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • A clear roadmap out of the current restrictions
  • The urgent introduction of an Aviation, Travel and Tourism Recovery Plan that includes financial support

This follows similar calls made by over 80 parliamentarians and 100 leading businesses and business groups across the UK economy who depend on ‘the aviation, travel and tourism sectors being fighting fit, not running on empty’ for a roadmap out of the restrictions and a comprehensive support package.

Commenting Brian Strutton, BALPA General Secretary said:

“Pilots recongise that is a moment of crisis for the aviation and travel industry, which is why so many have signed this joint letter to Boris Johnson. The current situation cannot continue; the PM must announce a roadmap out of this along with significant financial support for the industry and ensure his Government ends the damaging mixed messages around summer holidays.

“We need a vibrant aviation and travel industry to survive through this crisis in order to power our Covid recovery, global connectivity, trade and tourism once this pandemic is over.”

Henry Smith MP, Chair of the APPG for the Future of Aviation added:

“Over the last few weeks, we have seen parliamentarians, businesses, business groups, leading industry figures and now pilots unite to call for a roadmap out of the travel restrictions when it is safe to do so.

“These calls must be heard by the Government and plans for the safe reopening of international travel must form a part of the Prime Minister’s upcoming roadmap out of lockdown and they need to work with industry to agree a clear criterion that allows international travel to resume when safe to do so.

“As we look towards our recovery, the Government must take action to support our aviation, travel and tourism industries that are currently running on empty.  This includes publishing a clear roadmap out of the restrictions alongside a full aviation, travel and tourism rescue package. “