UK air travel the hardest hit in Europe, say UK pilots ahead of Travel Day Of Action
BALPA urges Government to act now as research shows devastating effect on UK airlines and airports
UK aviation industry is the ‘hardest hit’ in Europe by restrictions on international travel, an analysis of official European air traffic data for June 2021 by The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) has revealed.
The analysis of data from European air traffic agency ‘Eurocontrol’ has been published by BALPA – the trade union for British pilots – ahead of a national Travel Day of Action on Wednesday (23 June).
The number of flights into and out of the UK has collapsed by three-quarters (73%) in the latest official data, compared to 2019. The data shows that Gatwick and Manchester airports are the worse affected in Europe, with Heathrow and Stansted close behind.
According to world trade body the International Air Transport Association, 860,000 jobs in UK aviation travel and tourism have been lost or are on furlough and are at risk of being lost.
The Government claims to have given £7bn in support to UK aviation but most of this is either standard furlough payments or loans which the industry will struggle to pay back with virtually no income. By contrast, European and US Governments have given direct financial support to their airlines which the UK Government promised but has failed to deliver.
Brian Strutton, BALPA Acting General Secretary responded to the release of these latest statistics:
“It’s official. The UK aviation industry is the hardest hit in Europe, caused by the UK Governments ludicrously cautious restrictions on international travel. Hapless Ministers give all the appearance of deliberately attacking aviation and tormenting the public with their mixed messages over summer holidays. BALPA is demanding that the UK Government gets its act together and opens the US routes and European holiday travel destinations that it has blocked with no published evidence at all.
“If the country is going to build back better from the pandemic and build new international links with partners for trade and travel, we are going to need a thriving aviation industry. There is no time to hide behind task forces and reviews. This week pilots will be calling on the Government to act now to save jobs by taking a transparent, evidence-based approach to travel restrictions, extending the furlough scheme and helping airlines and airports weather this storm through direct financial support.”
BALPA pilots will join colleagues from across the aviation and travel industry to take their message to MPs in Westminster, and MSPs in Holyrood, as part of the nationwide Travel Day of Action on Wednesday 23 June. Pilots will also join action at Heathrow, Bristol, Edinburgh and Manchester airports.
Pilots are calling for the UK Government to:
- Allow international travel to return safely and in a risk managed way by properly implementing the Global Travel Taskforce’s plan for a transparent traffic-light system, by expanding the Green list in line with the evidence and making restrictions more proportionate, whilst keeping a strong red list to guard against variants.
- Bring forward a package of tailored financial support, including extension of furlough support, recognising that the travel sector’s ability to trade and generate income is much slower than first anticipated and more gradual than for businesses in the domestic economy.
EUROPE’S TOP 10 STATES BY % OF DAILY ARRIVALS/DEPARTURES 9 JUNE 2021 VERSUS 2019
United Kingdom -73%
EUROPE’S TOP 20 WORSE AFFECTED AIRPORTS BY % OF DAILY ARRIVALS/DEPARTURES 9 JUNE 2021 VERSUS 2019
London Gatwick -92%
Copenhagen Kastrup -78%
Stockholm Arlanda -76%
Helsinki Vantaa -73%
Rome Fiumicino -72%
Oslo Gardemoen -70%
London Heathrow -69%
London Stansted -68%
Paris Orly -67%
EUROPE’S TOP 10 WORSE AFECTED AIRLINES BY TRAFFIC 9 JUNE 2021 VERSUS 2019
Brussels Airlines -97%
Norwegian Air Shuttle -92%
Aer Lingus -91%
British Airways -84%
TUI Group -78%
Source for all tables – Eurocontrol report “COVID 19 Impact on European Aviation” 10 June 2021.
To follow the Travel Day of Action on social media follow BALPA on Facebook and Twitter and the #TravelDayofAction and #Speakupfortravel hashtags
BALPA is the professional association and registered trade union established to represent the interests of all UK pilots.
BALPA represent over 10,000 pilots and are recognised in 23 different companies; over 85% of all commercial pilots flying in the UK.