Stansted Airport boss expresses concerns for future

Business / Tue 3rd Nov 2020 at 09:07am

THE Chief Executive of the UK’s largest airport group has warned of tough decisions for parts of the UK airport industry, who may be forced to “act quickly to secure their future” after the Government announced an almost complete ban on international travel.

In an article written after the ban was confirmed on Saturday, MAG CEO Charlie Cornish said urgent Government support was needed to prevent further large-scale job losses across an industry already impacted by “chaotic changes in policy” throughout the pandemic.

Mr Cornish said the Prime Minister should offer an “urgent package of support” to aviation, pointing to dedicated support given to sectors like retail, hospitality and the rail industry, while aviation has been left to fend for itself.

He also bemoaned the fact that the industry learned of the new travel ban on social media. He wrote: “Twitter is not the place where you want to find out that the Government is effectively shutting down the business you run.”

Turning to the Government’s attitude to aviation, Mr Cornish added: “The fact this development was not deemed worthy of mention in the PM’s address is symbolic of the way Government has neglected UK aviation…from day one of this pandemic.”

MAG, which operates three major UK airports* that have remained open throughout the pandemic – and has recently begun a consultation proposing that up to 892 jobs at its airports will be sadly made redundant – has consistently called for more targeted support for aviation since the first lockdown decimated its passenger base in March.

Charlie Cornish said support should include relief from business rates – as enjoyed by airports in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – and policing costs, as well as further support with employee costs and reform of passenger taxes to help UK airports win back routes lost during the pandemic.

Mr Cornish wrote: “Our sector was one of the first hit by this pandemic and one of the hardest hit. Promises of specific support in recognition of this predicament were publicly made by government but never materialised. Tens of thousands of jobs have already been lost across the industry as a result of the situation we find ourselves in. An urgent package of support must materialise. That must include relief from business rates and policing costs.”

Without support Mr Cornish believes the sustainability of parts of the sector will be in question and “UK airports and airlines will need to decide quickly what they must do to secure their future until the situation improves.”

The full article is available via the MAG media centre https://mediacentre.magairports.com/uk-airport-boss-says-airports-and-airlines-will-need-to-act-quickly-to-secure-their-future-if-urgent-support-is-not-provided/

*MAG owns and operates Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports.

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1 Comment for Stansted Airport boss expresses concerns for future:

Chris Larner
2020-11-03 11:16:58

The fact that COVID-19 is upon us, forcing lockdowns and widespread changes to working and business lives, should not dispel the fact that we are still in a Climate Emergency. At the forefront of the emergency - which, unlike Coronavirus, threatens permanently to disrupt and dismantle the functioning world - is the airline industry. Charlie Cornish's job is to promote an industry which needs urgent downscaling, if we are to avoid complete calamity. His job is deckchair-attendant on the Titanic, and his industry-propping handwringing words need to be understood in that light. We need transport alternatives, we need government incentives for people to travel less, and certainly travel less by air. There will be job-losses in the aviation industry, and that is inevitable. However, research has shown, time and time again, that with the right policies and willpower, other jobs - and more than enough of 'em - will be created as part of a green renewal. Blanket calls, such as those made by Mr Cornish, here - for support of a failing and very destructive industry, need to be repelled as belonging to a dinosaur age.

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