Airports across England may be able to receive a funding boost from the government as its  financial support scheme opens for applications.

    Commercial airports and ground handlers will be eligible for up to £8 million each, to support with fixed costs while travel restrictions remain in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  The financial relief will help airports and ground handlers to cover losses on costs including airfield operations, contracted services such as airfield and runway maintenance, and business rate bills.

    The investment will help airports and ground handlers, following the introduction of international travel restrictions designed to protect public health and prevent the spread of Covid 19.

    The UK’s transport secretary, Grant Shapps said: “A thriving aviation industry has been central to the success of this country and while we recognise the testing conditions airports are currently facing as a result of the pandemic, I believe that the sector will be ready to bounce back once restrictions are lifted.

    “Today’s scheme is another step in the right direction, providing vital support for an industry that is raring to get back to business, once it is safe to do so.”

    Airports and ground handlers will be able to apply to the scheme on Gov.uk and if successful, should receive the funding by the end of the financial year. The financial support scheme is open for applications until the 21 February 2021.

    The Government has also extended the waiver of the “80:20” slot usage rule in time for the summer scheduling season. This removes the requirement for airlines to operate flights at least 80 per cent of the time to retain their slots, to reflect the current low demand for air travel.

    The English government has said that it acknowledges the “severe impact” that the pandemic has had on the travel sector as a whole and continues to provide support while international travel is paused.

    Aviation Minister, Robert Courts added:  “The aviation sector plays a crucial role in our economy, contributing £22 billion directly to the UK economy and supporting around half a million jobs.

    “We are well aware of the challenges facing the industry, however this scheme will give airports and ground handlers in England a boost, helping them continue to prepare for a future when international travel is ready to take off again.”