UK’s Airport Operators Association CEO Karen Dee has stated that airports in the UK may soon shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, in the absence of government intervention.
Airports in the UK, which are important national infrastructure that aid the economy, have taken a major blow due to Covid-19.
Dee added that, after the pandemic subsides, airports need to remain open to offer connectivity to other regions, helping to boost growth, employment and prosperity to the country.
Dee said: “With travel bans proliferating and passengers being unwilling to fly, traffic through airports has plummeted. UK airports are taking immediate and drastic action to cut costs and are scaling back investments in light of the situation. Due to the fixed costs of operating airports, the government will need to provide additional support.
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“The government must step in to see airports across the four home nations through the current crisis, and make an unequivocal commitment to doing whatever it takes to sustain the UK aviation industry.”
She has called on the government to plan for emergency financing as a last resort measure and to direct banks to not require ‘financial performance-based banking covenants’.
In addition, business rates and other airport taxes should be suspended, along with the suspension of VAT, corporation tax and other tax payments during the global flight ban period.
Governments should share the cost of employment of airport employee layoffs due to the crisis and stop the regulatory costs levied on airports in cases where it is feasible, she said.
The government has also been requested to delay the increase to regulatory costs and offer relief from policing costs.
Dee added: “For the sake of the UK economy it is essential for the UK Government to catch-up to its peers across the continent and provide support to the sector and the wider economy through financing, guarantees, grants and tax relief.
“Finally, to help kickstart aviation again once the pandemic is retreating, the government should suspend Air Passenger Duty for six months.”
Earlier this week, Manchester Airport Holdings (MAG) announced different measures, including temporary layoffs, to decrease costs and preserve resources.