By Edward Thicknesse, cityam.com
A group of over 80 MPs have today backed calls for the government to lay out specialist package of support for the aviation and travel industries.
Henry Smith, chairman of future of aviation all-party parliamentary group, today wrote to Boris Johnson demanding the government bring forward plans to protect the embattled industries.
In the letter, MPs asked for immediate financial relief alongside a pathway to allow aviation to come out of these restrictions when safe to do so.
It comes after ministers took the decision to shut all of the UK’s quarantine-free “travel corridors” in light of the new coronavirus variants.
Smith said that it was “now or never” for the aviation industry, which has seen its revenues decimated by the crisis.
“The closure of all travel corridors was a necessary measure to protect the public from new variants of Covid-19 but will be another hammer blow to industries which have faced the pandemic without the same levels of support afforded to other sectors”, he said.
“After nearly twelve months of historically low passenger numbers our world class aviation, travel and tourism industries are running on empty and the consequences of failing to support them are unthinkable and will put the brakes on our economic recovery before it has even begun.”
The letter comes just days after representatives of the country’s biggest aviation bodies renewed pleas for new support measures from the government.
These include a 12 month waiver from Air Passenger Duty, business rates relief for firms in the industry, and access to fresh funding.
Apart from a scheme that allows airports to claim up to £8m in business rates relief, no specialist support for the industry has thus far been forthcoming.
Last spring, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said that the industry would only be in line for specialist support once firms had exhausted all options.