Airlines bosses are calling on Chancellor Rishi Sunak urging him to provide them with a new rescue package amid fears the industry won’t be able to cope with “another lost summer”.
The letter warns that the huge debts being racked up due to the continued shutdown of international travel were “not sustainable much longer” and said a generous financing package was needed to save jobs.
Since the start of the pandemic, the industry has seen passenger numbers drop by 90 per cent and 30,000 jobs lost by UK-registered airlines alone.
The letter states: “In order to bridge to the point of recovery airlines have taken on billions of pounds in additional debt, a situation not sustainable much longer. It is likely more jobs will be at risk without government action.”
“If a meaningful reopening is not possible during the summer… then targeted economic support will be essential to ensure UK airlines are able to reach the point when a restart is possible, in order to protect many tens of thousands of jobs.”
The industry is calling on the Chancellor to create three special support measures to recognise that the airline industry is one of the hardest hit during the pandemic:
A furlough scheme which would cover 100 per cent of wages for aviation workers and last until April next year. The current scheme ends on September 30
An extension to the deadline for paying off Government-backed loans and of business rates relief
An ‘aircraft furlough’ scheme, which would cover the costs of maintaining grounded aircraft
The letter was organised by trade body Airlines UK and backed by its members, including British Airways, easyJet, Jet2, Virgin Atlantic and TUI.