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Government urged to publish aviation road map to recovery

11 March 2021

Failure to publish a report from the new Global Travel Taskforce to the public on April 12 will rob the aviation industry of clarity, risking another blow to the stricken sector, says the Transport Committee in an urgent report, published today. It should be accompanied by a statement to the House of Commons which sets out the next steps to recovery.

It is widely hoped that the new Taskforce report will map out a clear plan for action, affording consumers and industry the certainty required to plan for summer 2021 and beyond. The cross-party Transport Committee is urging the Government not to restrict its report to the Prime Minister alone, a possibility which emerged following last week’s evidence session.

Providing the four reopening tests which the Government set out on 22 February are met, the report calls on Government to maintain the date of May 17 to restart international travel. If this date is delayed, the financial challenges facing aviation business could reach critical levels.

The Committee is calling on the Global Travel Taskforce report to clarify:

  • The criteria that destination countries must meet on vaccine and testing capabilities in order to reopen for travel with the UK, as well as the requirement that passengers will need to fulfil in order to travel abroad, including any relating to digital health certification;
  • When and how the current quarantine schemes will be phased out; and
  • How the Government plans to support industry should variants or high levels of Covid-19 affect the reopening schedule.

The report follows last week’s evidence session - a progress update to the Committee’s June 2020 report on the impact of coronavirus on the aviation sector. Witnesses from across the aviation sector ranked the need for a clear roadmap above all other measures.

Chair's comment

The Chair of the Transport Committee, Huw Merriman MP, said:

“The call for action came across loud and clear from our witnesses at last week’s follow-up session on aviation. Airport operators, airports and airlines told us the situation was urgent. More than anything else, they need certainty to enable them to get back into the skies and back to business. The 12 April date should not merely be the date when the Global Travel Taskforce makes a recommendation on an international travel route map for the Prime Minister to take forward but, as was expected, the date when the industry and public are informed by Government of the way forward.

“Not for the first time, the Transport Committee is calling on Government to provide a greater degree of certainty for the aviation sector. The restart and recovery plan promised to us in the Department for Transport’s response to our aviation report was scheduled for Autumn 2020 – but has not appeared.

“In last year’s Report, we also called on the Government to drive forward the development and implementation of global health standards for the aviation sector. The UK should be ambitious in this regard. The success of the UK’s vaccination programme should help clear the UK for take-off.

“Aviation - and the corollary business which supports it, have made enormous sacrifices over the past year. Government should take this short report, setting out the immediate priorities for the restart and recovery of the aviation sector, as evidence of our commitment to this issue. A rapid response is required.”

Further information

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