UK Aviation sector takes day of action as travel industry calls for government to “save summer”

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The UK’s aviation sector is holding a day of action, along with other sectors of the travel industry, to put pressure on the government to reopen travel and give more financial support to businesses.

Industry body Abta estimates that 195,000 travel jobs have been lost or are at risk as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Ministers have been accused of failing to deliver a restart to travel by “undermining” the UK’s travel traffic light system.

There are no viable major tourist destinations on the quarantine-free green list, and the government has urged people to avoid holidays to locations on the amber list.

Hundreds of people, including pilots, cabin crew and travel agents, will gather outside the Palace of Westminster later today (23 June 2021)

Some 200 will also meet at an event in Holyrood, Edinburgh, 100 will assemble in Belfast, and a virtual meeting will take place for campaigners in Wales.

The Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) has issued a statement of support for the struggling aviation sector.

Sir Brian Burridge FRAeS, chief executive of the Royal Aeronautical Society, said: “The Covid pandemic has already had a devastating effect on the aviation industry with little respite in sight and, with the prospect of a ‘lost summer’, further damage is inevitable. This, of course, has also had a serious knock-on effect throughout the aerospace manufacturing sector, not least in adversely affecting the supply chains and, ultimately, the whole economy.

“It is increasingly clear that the vital relief represented by a more active summer season which is so important for airlines, airports and air navigation service providers will not materialise universally as a result of continued travel restrictions. Taken together, the aviation and tourism trade associations have an extremely strong case to make for direct Government intervention and we support that position.

“It is however with some relief that we see positive evidence that airlines, airports and manufacturers have continued throughout this difficult period to invest in their decarbonisation plans.  British Airways’ investment in sustainable aviation fuels with the prospect of a large-scale commercial biorefinery in the UK is but one example. Likewise, from earlier this month, Heathrow Airport’s investment has resulted in the provision of synthetic biofuels to its customers. It is vital that this work continues and that it is also supported by the Government.

“All of these aspects should be wrapped-up within a UK Aviation Recovery Package as proposed by the Transport Select Committee almost a year ago. The situation is becoming more urgent by the day.”

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