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New survey shows 98% of pilots do not have confidence in Transport Secretary’s support for aviation

With three weeks to go before the furlough scheme comes to an end, a new survey by the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) shows that 98% of pilots do not believe the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps supports the aviation and travel industry.

Nearly 50% of the pilots who responded to the survey said they will struggle to cover essential bills should furlough not be extended through the winter.

The pilots’ union says that following 18 months with travel being at a dismal and loss making 10% of its pre-Covid levels, Mr Shapps must support the industry through the winter and avoid committing aviation to the scrap heap.

As MPs return from the summer recess, BALPA is calling for Mr Shapps to immediately back a six month extension to the furlough scheme for the aviation industry in support of the sector’s recovery and to ensure it can rebuild as soon as Government restrictions end.

The sector – the last in lockdown – needs support in recovering to its position as the third largest aviation industry in the world.

BALPA’s Acting General Secretary Martin Chalk said: 

“Our current Transport Secretary has presided over the worst two summer seasons in aviation’s global history and we have lost confidence in his support for aviation.

“We’ve seen him waste time on ineffectual task forces, implement confusing traffic light systems and undermine public confidence whilst doing little to help those at the sharp end of the Covid crisis.

“Nearly half of the pilots who responded to our survey said they will not be able to pay essential bills if the furlough scheme is not extended and it is Government restrictions that are blocking their return to normal flying.

“Now is his last chance to back a sector so crucial to the economic recovery we know we need.

“Mr Shapps: you must do the right thing for the sector, the economy and the country and support us now.”


Notes to editors 

BALPA’s survey with 1703 responses: 

Q1 Has your pay been cut due to the pandemic?

              97% yes, 3% no

Q2 Have you had difficulty paying the following living costs as a result of the pandemic?

              Rent/mortgage – 54%

              Training loans/fees -18%

              Household bills – 50%

              Pension contributions – 51%

              Children’s costs – 35%

              Other essential living costs – 51%

Q3 If the furlough scheme ends, will your income cover essential bills, such as rent Tor mortgage payments?

              52% yes, 48% no

Q4 Has the Government’s approach to aviation and Covid-19 caused you to worry about  your future job security and career?

              98% yes, 2% no

Q5 Are you confident the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, supports the UK aviation/travel  industry?

              2% yes, 98% no

– Passenger numbers are down 90% as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.

– BALPA has published a ‘State of the Industry‘ dossier setting out the scale of Covid-19’s impact on aviation, why Government should support it as part of the economic recovery.

– Aviation employees can easily be identified by those who hold ‘airside’ passes, approved by the Department for Transport, which allow them to go through airport security for work purposes. These are required for pilots, cabin crew, engineers, airport workers such as baggage handlers, fuellers and security staff. Alternatively, most key airport workers require a licence, attestation or special security training to work at airports, providing another method for furlough identification.