UK airline industry urges ministers to further extend government emergency wage subsidies, warning it will face a continuing “cash crisis” as demand takes months to recover from the crisis COVID-19.
Sky News saw a letter sent Friday by Tim Alderslade, director general of Airways UK, asking the Treasury to provide certainty to its members about the ongoing operation of the coronavirus retention program.
In the document, Alderslade told Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, that if the program is “withdrawn prematurely, carriers experiencing only one attempt at revenue recovery will face a new cash crisis”.
“We believe that the program should be extended beyond June and that measures should be considered – including a” gradual reduction “of the system or a review on a sectoral basis – to avoid aviation being faced with a cliff after June. , while the services are extended. “
The letter from Airlines UK was sent in the midst of the Treasury’s ongoing deliberations on providing taxpayer support to the aviation industry.
The carriers have already requested additional government assistance on regulatory and air traffic control charges.
Sunak said the government would consider bailouting individual carriers “only as a last resort”, severely affecting airlines, including Virgin Atlantic Airways.
The Chancellor has, however, already extended the job retention program by one month and has indicated that he is willing to do so again.
Industries such as aviation are particularly keen to keep it in place for as long as possible, as the uncoordinated international lifting of foreclosure measures is likely to play a role in delaying the resumption of international air transport.
“IATA research [the International Air Transport Association] has shown that a significant number of travelers are likely to delay a return trip, and a majority could wait until they are more certain of their own personal finances, “wrote Alderslade.
“There are early signs of this trend in the Chinese and Australian markets, where domestic demand has continued to deteriorate or remain at significantly reduced levels, even after the rate of new infections has dropped significantly. “
The comments in Alderslade’s letter echo those of Gatwick Airport boss Stewart Wingate, who said last week that it could take four years for passenger numbers to return to levels. before the coronavirus.
Airlines UK also told Sunak that it welcomed the creation of a “restart and recovery” unit within the Department of Transport.
“This work will also examine economic and political measures to support the sector, and we remain convinced that further measures of this type will undoubtedly be necessary to put British aviation back on a competitive footing and to maintain its essential role in the economy. ‘British economy and as the third-largest aviation market in the world,’ wrote Mr Alderslade.