Chancellor Rishi Sunak has told UK airlines not to look to the government for help getting through the COVID-19 crisis and to find other forms of funding.
In a letter to the UK airline industry yesterday Sunak said the government would only step in as “a last resort”. He instead urged airlines to seek to raise money from shareholders. He went on to set out that the government would only enter into negotiations with individual airlines once they had “exhausted other options”.
Airline industry group, the International Air Transport Association in reply warned of an “apocalypse” in the airline industry and called on governments around the world for help.
EasyJet, Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic have grounded most of their fleets already, and BA has cut flights by 75%.
This has also affected airports all over the UK, which has led to hundreds of job losses since the COVID-19 pandemic. Which in turn of course sees all airport food and drink outlets closed.
Karen Dee, from the Airport Operators Association has said the aviation industry was “surprised” by Mr Sunak’s decision. She went on to say: “Not only does the decision today leave airports struggling to provide critical services, it will hamper the UK recovery.”
For hotels around the UK currently closed from the impact of COVID-19, the prospect of when they do re-open seeing UK airlines with diminished operational ability, as well as ex airlines, doesn’t bode well.