4,500 pilots call on Prime Minister to forge a solid recovery plan for aviation
More than 4,500 pilots have today written to Boris Johnson urging essential action to boost the UK aviation industry’s recovery following a damaging, two-year shutdown of the industry.
The call has been backed by Henry Smith MP, Chair of APPG for the Future of Aviation, and following confirmation by the Prime Minister that testing requirements for fully vaccinated passengers will be dropped, BALPA pilots are calling for an Aviation Recovery Plan and for Government to acknowledge that border restrictions do not stop the spread of Covid.
Such a recovery plan must include a return to pre-Covid ease of travel, as there remains a huge barrier to confidence in international travel and border controls are not effective in preventing transmission.
With the World Health Organisation calling for States to end travel bans as they do not contribute to public health protection, it is time for Government to reverse the chaos caused by Covid.
BALPA General Secretary Martin Chalk said:
“Sajid Javid and the Government must now acknowledge what the World Health Organisation already knows – travel restrictions kill confidence in travel but do not stop the spread of disease. It is important now that Government confirms the permanent end of travel restrictions.
“Public confidence in travel is low, and we cannot have a repeat of rapidly and regularly changing rules, confusing and scaring the public into not travelling.
“Our world class aviation sector cannot survive any longer without a clear way out of this crisis. This must include the publication of an Aviation Recovery Plan to turbo charge our recovery.
“As pilots, we know our aviation industry is more than simply our airlines and airports, it is our gateway to a Global Britain and is a key component of our national economy. We urge the Government to use our expertise and listen to industry voices as it shapes the supportive environment for our collective future.
“To fail to support UK aviation would be unconscionable and will slam the brakes on the long-term national recovery before it has even begun. The time for action is now.”
Henry Smith MP, Chair of APPG for the Future of Aviation said:
“The Government must go further and work with industry to agree and implement a long-term plan which can help these vital industries begin their road to recovery. The economic impacts of international travel restrictions have been significant and ensuring we have a thriving aviation and travel sector again will be vital to our national economic recovery and the Government must put the sector specific support in place to allow this to begin without further delay.”
Notes to editors
4613 pilots have signed BALPA’s open letter, which reads as follows:
Dear Prime Minister
As British pilots, we are again writing to you to urge you to introduce a comprehensive support package including winter resilience measures for the aviation sector that is essential to protect against further job losses and damage to our national economy.
Despite the welcome progress being made on the Government’s Covid vaccination and booster programmes, our aviation industry remains in a prolonged period of crisis and suppressed demand. The need for action is both urgent and essential.
The impacts of the pandemic and measures taken to protect public health have effectively shut down UK aviation for nearly two years, resulting in thousands of pilots either losing their careers or being subject to the uncertainty of enforced part time or unpaid leave. It is now clear the ending of furlough in aviation was premature. These people whose jobs are at risk are the same people who, in the face of this terrible virus, repatriated British citizens and continue to ensure important cargo makes it to the UK to protect the NHS and save lives.
Whilst we do not dispute the need for public health measures, it is clear that travel restrictions do not prevent spread of disease, and it is beyond doubt that our sector faces deep challenges this Winter and beyond. Our world class aviation sector cannot survive any longer without a clear way out of this crisis. This must include the publication of a recovery plan, which although promised by Ministers last year is yet to materialise. This plan must include bespoke financial support for all parts of the aviation family and a removal of all of the current restrictions on travel.
As pilots, we know that our aviation industry is more than simply our airlines and airports, it is our gateway to a Global Britain and is a key component of our national economy. As such, a failure to support our industry now will have devastating consequences for our long-term recovery from the pandemic.
To not support UK aviation would be unconscionable and will slam the brakes on the national recovery before it has even begun. The need for deliberation on this has long passed, the time for action is now.