UK To Give Financial Aid To Airports
The UK government has said that it will give financial aid to airports before the end of March, after the industry called for urgent support as tighter COVID-19 rules for international travellers started on Monday January 18.
Aviation minister Robert Courts said that the government will launch a new support programme this month.
"The Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme will help airports reduce their costs and we will be aiming to provide grants before the end of this financial year," he announced on social media, adding that more details will follow soon.
As of 0400 GMT on Monday January 20, all travellers to Britain must have a recent negative COVID-19 test and be prepared to quarantine at home for 10 days on arrival.
Britain's current lockdowns ban most international travel, meaning that airline schedules are currently minimal. But the withdrawal of any quarantine-free travel will be a further blow for the industry.
The latest restrictions were prompted in part by a third wave of the disease that has caused record daily death tolls in Britain, as well as concern about a new coronavirus variant discovered in Brazil.
London's second-largest airport, Gatwick, said that the support will help preserve jobs at a time when it has suffered a large reduction in passenger numbers.
Chief executive of Britain's Airport Operators Association Karen Dee said before the announcement that the government needed to go beyond existing support that includes a temporary exemption from local property taxes.
Relief from regulatory, policing and air traffic control costs would help, she added.
No Mention Of Support For Airlines
Courts did not mention any support for airlines, which have benefitted from general government furlough programmes but have received little direct assistance.