After the UK Government announced that the vast majority of mandatory restrictions will end on July 19 and every other industry will be able to open up freely, it is clear that aviation and the international travel industry will be the last sectors to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.
Hundreds of aircraft remain grounded. Thousands of Cabin Crew, Pilots, Engineers and ground staff remain furloughed. Airports are hanging by a thread.
Since March 2020, like many other industries, we have been supported by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, or Furlough as it is officially known. So far £66bn has been spent on the scheme and it has supported 11.6 million jobs across countless industries.
However, Furlough is set to end on September 30 and from July 1 employers will face having to pay higher rates as the government reduces their contribution.
No Recovery In Sight
Our industry has now been in the grip of the severest restrictions for over 18 months. With these still in place for international travel, it seems highly unlikely that the travel industry will recover any time soon.
Even if more countries are added to the green list or travel opens up for those who have been double jabbed, public confidence in travelling abroad is at an all time low. With the governments endless restrictions and complicated regulations, plus the added costs of having to take numerous COVID tests, many Brits have now already made their holiday plans for this year with many choosing to stay in the UK.
Unlike other countries around the world, whose airlines and airports have received phenomenal support from their respective governments (Air France has received €7 billion from the French Government), the support offered here in the UK has been completely underwhelming and no where near enough to support an industry that is seriously facing oblivion.
The pandemic has already claimed Stobart Air with the loss of of nearly 500 jobs. And that’s not counting the indirect job losses that the airlines demise will undoubtedly create.
Even with the furlough scheme, airlines and airports have already made thousands of job cuts and slashed terms and conditions of its staff.
Over 1.2m jobs are supported by UK aviation, from flight crew and baggage handlers to hospitality and the makers of aircraft engines. It generates £22bn in GDP to the UK economy every year, and brings growth and prosperity to every part of the country.
The ending of the furlough scheme also comes at the worst time for our industry.
Winter is always the quietest period for the aviation and travel industry in the UK and Europe. Historically, many airlines fail to make a profit during these quieter months. There is no doubt that ending the furlough scheme will lead to further job losses.
How Can I Help?
First of all you need to sign and share the following petition to ‘Extend furlough for aviation sector.’ Signatures have no passed the 10K mark and therefore the government will now have to respond. However there is still a LONG way to go to reach the 100K mark where the issue will have to be discussed in parliament.
Unite the UNION have put together a new campaign to help protect UK aviation.
By clicking on the following link you find a wealth of information as to why our industry needs help and an online form where you comply add your postcode and name to a pre-drafted letter which can then be sent to your local MP.
Ex-BA Cabin Crew Member, Queen of Customer Service and Consumer Champion specialising in Travel Jane Hawkes aka Lady Janey said:
“The travel industry has been undoubtedly the hardest hit during the pandemic and the fight for survival continues. With minimum government support, broken promises and a bunch of half baked initiatives to reopen international travel, it’s a wonder that we even have an industry anymore to discuss. Luckily it has hung on in there and the hope is that with the change in government directives, it will weather the ongoing storm. However as the furlough scheme starts to draw to a close, the travel industry is still in an extremely precarious position. Airlines have reported pre tax losses of billions of pounds and thousands have already lost their jobs. An extension of the furlough season is essential in order to protect jobs over the quieter winter season and give our devastated travel industry invaluable support which to date has been sadly lacking and unforgivably so.”
© confessionsofatrolleydolly.com by Dan Air.