England’s Manchester Airport has been joined by five other northern airports in urging the UK Government to provide support for the aviation sector in its upcoming budget next week.
Representatives of the airports have also asked the government to develop a cost-effective and realistic system, enabling the resumption of travelling this May.
In a letter to the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the representatives requested direct monetary funding for the protection of the industry until it is fully restored.
The letter was jointly signed by Manchester Airport, Liverpool John Lennon Airport, Leeds Bradford Airport, Newcastle International Airport, Doncaster Sheffield Airport, and Carlisle Lake District Airport.
According to the representatives, some of the options that can be considered by the government include relief from fixed expenses paid to the government, a sector-specific expansion of the furlough scheme, and a reduction in the travel expenses.
Manchester Airport managing director Karen Smart said: “While this week’s recovery plan from the Prime Minister includes a welcome target for the reopening of our industry, there is still much uncertainty over what this will mean in practice. It could still be many months before our airports begin welcoming passengers back through their doors.
“With airports across the north still facing uncertainty and difficult decisions over the next months, it is absolutely critical that the chancellor recognises the unique impact the pandemic continues to have on aviation when setting out his budget next week.
“Having already lost one summer season, we are now heading towards summer 2021 facing yet another review into how our industry might restart, and the prospect of a system that could continue to restrict travel. The recent surge in bookings reported by airlines proves the demand is there, but the government needs to help realise that potential without delay by working with the industry to build on the measures already developed for passenger safety, without further undermining consumer confidence.”
The petitioning airports collectively managed around 50 million passengers in 2019, supported over 200,000 jobs, and generated nearly £14bn for the northern economy.