The boss of the UK’s largest airport group has blasted the government for the way the latest travel ban was made public.
Charlie Cornish, chief executive of Manchester Airport Group, said the industry had learned of the new travel ban on social media. “Twitter is not the place where you want to find out that the government is effectively shutting down the business you run,” he said.
“Given the huge impact on the hundreds of thousands of people working in the aviation and travel industry, it is shocking that the prime minister didn’t consider the shutdown of international travel worthy of mention in his press conference on Saturday evening.
“The leaks reported across social media were finally confirmed by government at 11pm with a sentence towards the bottom of the detailed guidance that was emailed around,” Cornish said.
“The fact this development was not deemed worthy of mention in the PM’s address is symbolic of the way government has neglected UK aviation… from day one of this pandemic.”
MAG operates Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports, and Cornish warned parts of the industry could be forced “to act quickly to secure their future”. MAG is currently proposing up to 892 job losses at its airports.
He said government support was urgently needed to prevent “large-scale” job losses. He pointed to dedicated support given to sectors like retail, hospitality and the rail industry “while aviation has been left to fend for itself”.
Cornish said support should include relief from business rates “as enjoyed by airports in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland”. He also called for help with policing costs, plus further support with employees and reform of passenger taxes.