Dr Ben Spencer has today issued the following update regarding his ongoing Aviation Campaign:
Over the past two weeks I have had virtual meetings with Airlines UK, the trade body for registered airlines, the Airport Operators Association, Unite the Union (pictured above), and the M3 Local Enterprise Partnership. I have also received continued correspondence from residents which has been very helpful, both in understanding some of the technical detail, but also people’s personal situations and views on how to go forward. I have also received a letter from Mr Alex Cruz and an email from Mr Willie Walsh. I will let you draw your own conclusions on these. Mr Cruz’s office emailed me to state that he is ‘unable to speak’ to me at this time, but I will be writing back to Mr Cruz to strongly request he becomes available. Following my last update there have also been several Government announcements, most notably the introduction of a 14 day quarantine.
In all the meetings I have had, and the correspondence received, the message is loud and clear that the introduction of a 14 day quarantine period effectively stops the recovery of the UK passenger airline industry dead in its tracks. This has knock on effects with air freight, which is crucial to many of our supply chains, and all the industries attached whose work depends on the passenger airline industry. Furthermore, the quarantining will affect the traditional peak period, the summer holidays, and have the most impact on the sector. This will put more pressure on the aviation industry and have further long term impacts on jobs and our local economy. We need to ensure that the UK remains the best place to do business and being at the forefront of aviation is crucial to our international competitiveness.
Initially, I had hoped Aviation Sector Specific financial Support would not be required, given that there are a range of support measures already available for businesses of all sizes to draw on. However, following my discussions and the announcement that a quarantine process will be brought in, I now believe Aviation Sector Specific Support is both needed and justified. We have provided sector specific support already to areas of direct shut down on Government instruction, such as the retail and leisure industries, and the same principle applies here. I will therefore be writing to the Chancellor to request this and lay out the reasoning.
In summary I believe that we must:
- Move away from the 14 day quarantine towards a risk based approach for new arrivals as a matter of absolute urgency, and agree international safety standards for passenger flights.
- Provide Aviation Sector Specific Support to protect jobs and business in and linked to the aviation industry, for at least until the quarantining process is over or a risk-based approach/international safety standards have been agreed and consumers feel confident to fly again.
- Safeguard our vital supply chains by ensuring airfreight remains available to businesses dependent on just in time supply chains through Aviation Sector Specific Support.
To ensure a sustainable future for aviation as part of our recovery, any Aviation Sector Specific Support must also involve pledges from industry towards cutting carbon emissions, air pollution, and aircraft noise pollution.
I will continue to raise this at all levels on behalf of everyone living and working in Runnymede and Weybridge, and to have meetings with key stakeholders within the Aviation Industry and local businesses.
With regards to the very important issue of British Airways (and where relevant this also applies to other carriers), I do acknowledge that they are in great financial difficulty, and as I have explained before the root of the problem is grounded planes, which is why getting them back in the air has been the cut and thrust of my campaign. However, I, like you, am very concerned by what BA are offering their staff, how they are going about it, on the background history of employment relations. I will strongly implore them to work with the unions to talk and work through this, and support people’s livelihoods along with securing the business’s future.
I realise this is a very uncertain and difficult time for you, and I hope this is helpful and I will keep you updated as things progress.