Runnymede and Weybridge benefits from close links to Heathrow, Gatwick, London, and through these the world. As a result, we are one of the best places in the UK to work and set up a business, and the UK’s aviation industry is key to the success of our local economy: from the many residents directly employed by Heathrow or carriers to the freight and logistics companies reliant on open transport routes.
However coronavirus has resulted in a dramatic reduction in domestic and international flights, posing a real threat to the industry and the jobs and businesses that rely on it. The aviation industry needs to get moving again.
I am working with Government and industry to address these concerns and provide as much clarity as possible at this time. This page will be updated with developments, however if you are affected or wish to raise concerns, please contact me at email@example.com.
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Update: 3 July 2020
I am delighted that today’s announcements on international travel means we are able to get planes flying again, supporting our aviation sector and enabling more UK travellers to enjoy a holiday this year.
The announcement by Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, will see travel corridors being created with 59 countries, meaning travellers will be able to go abroad to these locations without facing a 14 day quarantine period on their return. Full details of the announcement is available here. The Foreign Office is also updating its travel advice for these locations from Saturday, 4th July.
Adopting these measures to reduce restrictions while controlling the risks is an important step on our road to recovery, for the aviation sector especially, but also the country as a whole.
I know there has been worrying news on redundancies in the aviation sector and the wider economy. The best way to support the sector, and the thousands of jobs it supports, is to ensure the long term future of the industry. Today's announcement is a huge step to achieving that, however there is still much more to be done.
I will continue to engage with the industry and unions, push for international agreements on safety standards for air travel, a widening of travel corridors where appropriate, and work with colleagues in Parliament to look at what reforms may be needed in light of the changes to the sector following the crisis.
Update 19 June 2020
Many constituents have contacted me regarding Gavin Newlands MP’s private members bill, the Employment (Dismissal and Re-employment) Bill 2019-21.
The aim of his Bill is to ‘prohibit employers dismissing employees and subsequently re-employing them for the purpose of diminishing the terms and conditions of employment’. This seems reasonable to me, as the crucial part here is that the dismissal is ‘for the purpose of’ diminishing terms and conditions of employment. However, there are complexities around how this could be implemented given it relies on having to prove the intent of the employer, and to ensure there are no unintended adverse consequences.
Unfortunately the full legal text of the Bill has not been released yet. Once it has been published I will be in a much better position to scrutinise it and propose amendments, if needed, to safeguard the intended purpose of the bill and ensure there are no unintended adverse consequences. The second reading of the Bill is scheduled for the 10th of July so I expect this will be released quite soon so that I can look into it further. I must point out though, that currently it is one of the last Bills scheduled to be read on the 10th of July, so it is very unlikely indeed that it will be debated, but I hope that nevertheless it will raise this important issue.
Update: 12 June 2020
I am delighted that there are already moves to set up air travel corridors to enable more people to travel to and from certain destinations without the need to quarantine. This is a positive step in the recovery of the aviation sector.
You will also be aware that there has been a call for a review of landing slot allocations following recent scrutiny of the airline industry. British airways currently holds 51% of the landing slots at Heathrow, partly through grandfathering rights as the UKs former flag carrier. It is clear to me with the significant flux in the sector the method of allocation of slots needs to be reviewed by the Civil Aviation Authority to ensure that allocation reflects the current changes and delivers fair and open competition within the market.
Many constituents have also contacted me regarding Gavin Newlands MP’s Bill which proposes to change employment law to prevent companies dismissing staff and subsequently re-hiring for the purpose of diminishing terms and conditions of employment. I am currently looking into this and will provide a further update next week.
Update: 3 June 2020
Today I raised questions with the Home Secretary and Aviation Minister regarding the proposed 14 day quarantine people for people travelling from abroad, I have called on the Home Secretary to move as quickly as possible to a precise and targeted approach based on science and international safety standards . The full question and Home Secretary's response is available here.
Given the impact of a 14 day quarantine period I have also called for sector specific support to protect jobs and businesses. The full question and Minister's response is available here.
Update: 28 May 2020
Latest campaign update issued. Please see full details here.
Update: 27 May 2020
Letter received from Willie Walsh Chief Executive Officer of IAG. Please see a copy of the letter below.
Update: 22 May 2020
Today I held a teleconference meeting with the Airport Operators Association as part of ongoing industry engagement.
Update: 21 May 2020
Letter received from Alex Cruz, Chairman and CEO of British Airways. Please see a copy of the letter attached below.
I will be writing back to Mr Cruz to strongly request he becomes available.
Update: 20 May 2020
Today I attended the Unite the Union Zoom teleconference meeting to discuss support for the aviation sector.
The transport Committee also today held two evidence sessions. The first heard evidence from Unite the Union, the British Air Line Pilots Association, and Swissport UK. The Second session heard evidence from Kelly Tolhurst MP, Minister for Transport, the Civil Aviation Authority and the Director of Aviation at the Department for Transport. To watch these sessions please see here.
Update: 19 May 2020
Meeting with Tim Alderslade, CEO of Airlines UK, the Association of UK airlines.
Update: 15 May 2020
Following the Transport Committee's session earlier this week I too was unsatisfied with the answers given. I have contacted Willie Walsh and Alex Cruz’s offices to arrange a meeting but have not had a response and I am chasing this. Companies need to demonstrate corporate responsibility in the way they treat their staff, and BA is no exception to this. I will be writing to the Unite the Union and BALPA to discuss this with them as well.
Update: 13 May 2020
Today I had a ‘virtual’ meeting with the aviation minister Kelly Tolhurst, to discuss the issues with the sector. The Government has a range of support available for businesses to use, including carriers, and notably BA have taken advantage of the furlough scheme. Yesterday the Chancellor announced that the Furlough scheme will be extended, and made more flexible, and it is my expectation that businesses will use this as needed to support their business and protect jobs.
I also raised the importance of international safety standards to get planes flying again, and the Department of Transport has set up an expert steering group where this is being considered. International safety standards are key here. I am arranging a meeting with the Foreign Secretary to raise this further.
Update: 12 May 2020
Today in Westminster I called on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to get planes flying again, in addition to providing direct support to those in the sector affected by the crisis. To view the question in Parliament please visit here.
Update: 11 May 2020
Today the Transport Select Committee heard evidence from Willie Walsh, CEO of International Airlines Group, as part of their inquiry into the impact of coronavirus on transport. The full transcript is available here.
Update: 7 May 2020
The Transport Select Committee are holding an inquiry into the impact of Covid-19 on transport and will be hearing evidence from Mr. Willie Walsh, Chief Executive of International Airlines Group, parent company of British Airways on Monday 11th May, and trade unions and the aviation Minister on 20th May.
Any concerned constituents or those affected directly by British Airways or aviation-related redundancies are invited to submit questions to the inquiry by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information about the inquiry please visit https://committees.parliament.uk/work/221/coronavirus-implications-for-transport/
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|Letter from Alex Cruz||123.67 KB|