Coronavirus: UK establishes guidelines for air travel

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The UK government has released guidelines designed to minimize the risk of coronavirus theft.

The recommendations state that all baggage should be checked, that passengers should wear a face cover at the airport and that personal contact with staff should be minimized.

The Department of Transport said its view remains that people should avoid non-essential travel.

The guidelines have attracted strong criticism from the struggling airline industry.

Ryanair said the advice on carry-on baggage was “nonsense,” noting that checked baggage is handled by more than one person, while carry-on baggage is only touched by the passenger.

Rather, he recommended that passengers minimize checked baggage in favor of one or two pieces of hand luggage.

The aviation industry has been hit hard by coronavirus travel restrictions, Airlines UK warning that the quarantine rules would “effectively kill air travel”.

Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps said on Thursday that the government’s advice is to avoid all non-essential travel, but today we are taking steps to ensure that a framework is in place for the aviation industry bounces back when it is safe. for travel restrictions to be lifted. ”

The government directive also advises passengers to wash their hands regularly after touching surfaces and to sit as much as possible on flights.

Heathrow layoffs

Many airlines have said jobs are at risk due to the crisis, including British Airways, which has drawn criticism after announcing up to 12,000 layoffs while workers were on leave.

Heathrow Airport said on Thursday that it was seeking voluntary layoffs from front-line staff.

“From the start, our priority has been to protect jobs, but with the current crisis, it is becoming more difficult to maintain,” said a spokesman for Heathrow.

“After listening to the unions, we have proposed a voluntary severance package and negotiations will continue in the weeks to come. ”

The airport has already laid off 500 of the approximately 1,500 managers, and it is understood that Heathrow is seeking to cut approximately 1,800 additional jobs out of 5,500 front-line workers.

However, it is understood that the Unite union did not accept this level of reductions.

In a statement, the union said it had “firmly rejected the prospect of a forced dismissal program and instead negotiated a generous voluntary separation program.”

Blank cups

In May, Virgin Atlantic announced it would cut 3,000 jobs and cease operations at Gatwick Airport.

The airline said on Thursday that the layoffs of staff, including 300 pilots, will take effect this week.

An airline source told BBC transport correspondent Tom Burridge that the 1,050 airline pilots expected to receive emails on Friday confirming whether they were dismissed or not.

Virgin Atlantic requested a bailout of several hundred million pounds from the government several weeks ago, but the Treasury has not confirmed whether it will provide the airline with emergency loans.

Most of the staff who will receive layoff notices are based in the UK.

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