Industry bodies have pleaded for next week’s lockdown update to include a plan for travel and support for the sector.
The prime minister is due to give details of how the UK will emerge from the pandemic on 22 February.
The Save Future Travel Coalition, which comprises 12 organisations, said the timing of the announcement, at the end of half-term, made a signal to the travel industry all the more important, particularly for the winter sports sector.
“Half term represents around 15% of Abta ski members’ total bookings for the winter season. For companies providing ski and snow trips to schools, the same period would usually bring 40% of their annual revenues. This year, that revenue will be lost,” the Coalition said.
It added it was “vital” the government worked with industry to develop a roadmap to reopen travel.
“While the rollout of the vaccine is progressing well, the Coalition is clear the industry simply cannot afford to wait until everyone in the UK is vaccinated before people start to travel again – otherwise insolvencies and redundancies will be inevitable.
“The industry argues that a risk-based approach to travel, including a coordinated approach to vaccine certificates and use of passenger testing will be critical in opening up the overseas travel market.”
Charles Owen, SBiT director, added: “The UK may be in its third lockdown but, for SBiT members, this is still their first lockdown which started 11 months ago. In March 2020 we completed an emergency repatriation of 40,000 guests and staff back to the UK, and then set about refunding or rebooking holidays for hundreds of thousands more guests.
"With this winter season all but cancelled, virtually no new bookings and the outlook uncertain, this is an industry on its knees financially.”
Pilots’ union Balpa also stepped up the pressure in a letter to Boris Johnson from general secretary Brian Strutton. It said:
“The industry cannot survive any longer without a clear way out of this crisis. We are dealing with a three-pronged problem: damaging mixed messaging around summer holidays from ministers, insufficient economic support and no road map out of the situation. All three of these matters need resolution.”
Strutton warned: “As I see it there are two choices: change government policy to end the aviation shutdown and in the meantime provide significant economic support; or sacrifice our aviation industry, which would be a disaster for UK plc.”