By Edward Thicknesse, cityam.com
The UK’s airports have today launched a fresh bid for more financial support from the government as the pandemic shows no signs of abating.
The Airport Operators’ Association (AOA) today said that it did not expect passenger numbers to recover to pre-Covid levels until 2025 at the earliest.
It said that the coming summer needed to be a success for the industry if airports were to survive.
Last week the government began accepting applications for up to £8m in business rates relief for airports and baggage handling firms.
However, some airports, such as Heathrow, rubbished the offer, describing it as “wholly inadequate”.
Under their new recovery plan, airports are calling for full business rates relief for the next two years, as well as rolling extra support through the current shutdown.
In addition, they are demanding that the government reverse its decision to get rid of VAT-free shopping at airports.
Finally, they called for ministers to “alleviate” a number of industry-specific levies, such as Civil Aviation Authority chargesAir traffic management charges Airport policing costs.
AOA chief exec Karen Dee said: “2020 was a devastating year and the start of 2021 has so far dashed airports’ hopes that this year will be significantly better. This summer must be a success for aviation if airports are to survive in the coming years.
“A further delay in airports’ recovery, leaves the UK’s economic recovery at risk and the UK Government’s levelling-up and global Britain agenda in tatters.
“A comprehensive Aviation Recovery Package is needed to see airports through the immediate government-ordered shut-down of aviation.
“This must include targeted financial support as well as a clear pathway to re-start across the four UK nations by easing travel restrictions when it is safe to do so, including through testing.