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UK airports take Gold, Silver and Bronze for worst affected by covid in devastating new data  

New data, analysed by the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) shows UK aviation is suffering more than European competitors and needs urgent Government help.  

Ahead of this week’s traffic light system update, BALPA is highlighting the dire effect that restrictions are having on UK aviation and pointing to new data that shows the UK falling behind its European competitors.  

The latest data from Eurocontrol published in mid-August reveals that the top 3 worst affected airports in Europe are in the UK: Gatwick (1), Manchester (2) and Heathrow (3).  

British pilots say it is now vital that the Government announces winter financial support for the sector including a six month extension of furlough, recognising that the ongoing strict Government travel restrictions are constraining recovery for UK aviation. 

BALPA is calling for the Government to recognize that the sector is being stifled by the rules. Ministers need to ensure safe countries are added to the green list as soon as possible and take an active role in repairing public confidence in international travel. 

At the same time BALPA has highlighted how the ongoing restrictions have entirely denied a profitable and self-sustaining summer season, which is now all but over. Travel and aviation are the last sectors to come out of lockdown and it is vital the furlough scheme is extended to protect the many skilled jobs that are at risk.  

BALPA Acting General Secretary Martin Chalk said:  

“It is devasting to watch Government restrictions destroy the once world leading UK aviation industry. These dire figures show it is not the virus that’s killing the sector, but the artificial, over cautious Government restrictions on international travel.  

“The Government has handed our aviation industry the gold, silver and bronze medal for worst affected airports in Europe: a shameful and deeply damaging prize.  

“The UK is now clearly lagging behind our European competitors. 

“We need the Government to recognize the damaging impact its restrictions continue to have on UK aviation and for them to support the only industry still in lockdown by providing a sector specific extension to furlough.  

“If we don’t see these measures in place we could see more job losses imminently and UK aviation will fall even further behind its competitors.” 


Notes for editors: 

Eurocontrol publishes regular data on the use of European airspace. Their latest assessment published 12 August shows that the following airports are operating at this level of flights compared to the same day in 2019: 

  1. Gatwick -76% 

  1. Manchester -59% 

  1. Heathrow -59% 

  1. Helsinki -59% 

  1. Tel Aviv -58%