The Herald on Sunday

Pilots issue mayday for UK aviation


PILOTS are calling for urgent action to help aviation because of the “devastatin­g” impact of the pandemic on UK airlines and airports

The British Airline Pilots Associatio­n (Balpa) said the UK aviation industry has been the hardest hit in Europe by restrictio­ns on internatio­nal travel.

Its analysis of official European air traffic data for June showed that the number of flights into and out of the UK has fallen by three-quarters compared to 2019.

The union said its study showed that Gatwick and Manchester airports were the worst affected in Europe, with Heathrow and Stansted close behind.

According to world trade body the Internatio­nal Air Transport Associatio­n, 860,000 jobs in UK aviation travel and tourism have been lost or are on furlough and are at risk of being lost, said Balpa.

A Government spokesman said: “We recognise the challengin­g times facing all sectors of transport as a result of Covid-19, which is why we have put in place an economy-wide support package, including around £7 billion of support expected to benefit the air transport sector by September 2021.

“We continue to work with the aviation sector to help them navigate this period, and encourage them to draw on the unpreceden­ted package of support measures available.”

Balpa members will join colleagues from across the aviation and travel industry to take their message to MPs in Westminste­r, and MSPs in Holyrood, as part of a nationwide Travel Day of Action on Wednesday.

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