Written evidence submitted by Aviation Heritage -UK



Revised Submission to DCMS

on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic countermeasures

on aviation museums in the UK.



Aviation Heritage – UK is the representative industry body for the aviation museum sector in the UK|.


Thirty-four museum members of Aviation Heritage UK responded to a request for information on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic countermeasures to aviation museums.


All museums are reporting an almost complete collapse in revenues due to the absence of visitors.


All museums have minimised their unavoidable overheads by furloughing almost all employees and cutting any expenditure deemed not essential.


Essential overheads include insurance, security and site monitoring, utilities, especially those required to maintain temperature and humidity levels for museum assets and regular monthly payments for banking, accounting etc.


Museums have found that 100% rates relief can be obtained by contacting their local authority, and a few of them list rents as being a major immediate concern..


The majority of the well-established smaller museumsmost of which are entirely volunteer-run, with no paid staffhave saved sufficient reserves to enable them to weather the loss of visitor revenue but with the consequence that conservation and maintenance activities will be suspended for the foreseeable future.


Larger well-established museums with significant overheads, such as Brooklands Museum, are in a very difficult position as the result of their larger irreducible overheads even after having furloughed most of their paid staff. Their difficulties will be substantially worsened if the furlough scheme expires before they are able to fully re-open, but even after re-opening they envisage redundancies because of reduced visitor numbers and revenues. Brooklands is applying for a significant loan under the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), without which they will be in a critical position by August.


Two relatively recently-opened museums are in severe difficulties, as they either have significant debt or no reserves. Without help, Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome could run out of cash in early 2021. Aerospace Bristol has also furloughed 80% of its staff and applied for emergency funding under CBILS in the hope of being able re-open at the beginning of August, but expects to need further funding to survive during what is likely be a slow recovery period running into 2021.





There are two common and serious concerns shared by all museums:




The assistance to aviation museums requested from the government is:







Dr Robert Pleming FRAeS


Aviation Heritage – UK