IATA: rescue plan for UK aviation is needed urgently

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IATA has warned of devastating impacts if a rescue plan for the UK aviation industry is not implemented immediately.

Without immediate action the Association predicts the UK will face an ‘imminent unemployment catastrophe,’ which threatens to put more than 820,000 people out of work across the entire UK economy and could result in the UK falling behind international partners and losing its coveted position as the 3rd biggest global aviation market.

IATA has suggested that government policies, such as the imposition of last minute quarantine measures, have exacerbated the damage from the COVID-19 shutdown.

“The stop-start-stop closing of the UK to the world is not a successful survival tactic for COVID-19,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “Without a rescue plan, 820,000 jobs will be vaporized by quarantine and they may never come back. The answer is a COVID-19 testing regime that manages the risk to keep people safe from the virus. And it will avoid apocalyptic unemployment that is sure to devastate society and the economy.”

IATA has proposed a four-point plan to help to lift the quarantine measures and produce a short-term boost in demand, which includes:

  1. A testing regime, to unlock travel from high-risk countries;
  2. A review of the infection threshold for quarantine that is fully transparent and aligned with international partners;
  3. A suspension of Air Passenger Duty to kick-start demand;
  4. Extending the furlough scheme for the air transport sector until border restrictions are lifted and the industry has a chance to recover.

If these measures are not considered or implemented and the stop-start approach continues until the end of the year, IATA predicts the UK may lose a further 87,000 jobs and £4.6 billion in GDP.