Aviation: Mitigating the Impact of Covid-19

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 ben.spencer.mp@parliament.uk.

To sign up to campaign updates, please click 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

Held teleconference meeting with the Airport Operators Association.


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 transcom@parliament.uk. For further information about the inquiry please visit https://committees.parliament.uk/work/221/coronavirus-implications-for-transport/


Attachment Size
Letter from Willie Walsh 81.55 KB
Letter from Alex Cruz 123.67 KB


Aviation Campaign Continues

Dr Ben Spencer has today issued the following update regarding his ongoing Aviation Campaign:

Constituents Urged to Take Part in Transport Inquiry Into Aviation

Constituents affected by British Airways redundancies or other issues concerning the aviation sector are being urged to submit questions to the Transport Select Committee, as part of their ongoing inquiry into the implications of the pandemic for transport.