The Airport Operators Association (AOA) have warned that due to the government’s “overly cautious approach” to reopening travel billions could be lost this year with the possibility of jobs being on the line.
The AOA warned that there is a risk that in a few months is could be as “bad or worse than summer 2020” amid passenger numbers.
Last year holidaymakers were able to visit more countries than this year without the need to quarantine.
Under the government’s current travel traffic light system there are no viable major tourist destinations since Portugal was removed this week from the green list.
Karen Dee, chief executive of the organisation said, “The Government’s overly cautious approach to reopening travel has real-world consequences for the 1.6 million jobs in the UK aviation and tourism industries that rely on aviation having a meaningful restart.“Unless the Government makes a meaningful restart of aviation possible by extending the green list at the next review, moving to rapid and affordable tests for returning travellers and following the examples of the EU and the US by reducing restrictions on fully vaccinated passengers, aviation is in for an extremely difficult summer.”
Dee added, “Airports have suffered blow after blow since the start of the pandemic. If the Government decides it cannot reopen travel more meaningfully, then they should stand ready to give substantial financial compensation to airports and others in aviation and tourism.
“As airports remain open for critical services, support should include operational costs, such as policing, air traffic and CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) regulatory costs, and extending business rate relief in full until the end of the tax year.
“With the rest of the economy having a real opportunity to return to some normality, jobs in businesses across the economy that need air connectivity for their success are at risk. The Government cannot afford to let those go.”
A Department for Transport spokeswoman said, “We recognise the challenging times facing all sectors of transport as a result of Covid-19, which is why we have put in place a world-beating support package, including around £7 billion of support benefiting the air transport sector.”