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Flying tax under review

Ministers pledge aviation recovery plan in autumn

Heathrow

Flights are largely grounded at airports across the UK

UK ministers will set out an ”aviation recovery plan” this autumn outlining how to get the sector back on track.

The government was responding to a report by the UK Parliament Transport Select Committee in which MPs expressed concern about the “lack of detail and pace of action” towards the industry.

“In our view, the government’s strategy for the recovery of the aviation sector should be more developed given we are already some four months into the crisis,” the report states.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said he will open a consultation on aviation tax reform following years of calls for Air Passenger Duty to be reduced.

Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak: looking at aviation tax

EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren today make another call for the tax to be suspended to ease costs.

The Department for Transport said its planned strategy will run to 2025 and will address a range of concerns from the return to operations to tackling climate change and decarbonisation.

An Expert Steering Group will work with the aviation industry on these issues.

Airlines and airports have united in criticising what is seen as a lack of coherence in government policy, particularly the 14-day quarantine rules for those arriving in the UK. The industry has been calling for the use of testing at airports to help limit quarantine requirements and the latest idea is for travellers to be tested before they leave the UK.

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The Airport Operator’s Association, in a letter signed by 19 UK airport operators or groups, has urged the government to make a decision this week on introducing testing for international travellers to reduce the use of quarantine and commit to regionalising quarantine requirements where possible in key markets.

It has warned that up to 110,000 jobs at UK airports and their supply chains are at risk.

Glasgow Airport chief executive Derek Provan says the First Minister’s call for Scots to holiday at home “is not helpful” and has warned the industry faces a demise on the scale of the coal industry.

Transport Select Committee chairman Huw Merriman said: “The publication of an aviation recovery plan is welcome, but it cannot come quick enough for a sector devastated by the impact of coronavirus.

“Our report expressed a desire to see more pace and detail on government action to address the crisis. We await to government’s aviation recovery plan and will look carefully at how government intends to deal with some of the specific points in our report.

“The government’s quarantine regime, coupled by a refusal to endorse airport testing to reduce the quarantine period, adds further barriers to travel.

“Whilst the government’s approach can be argued for on health grounds, it also further justifies the committee’s original call for the government to provide a sector deal to support our ailing aviation industry and its workforce.”



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