Pilots union Balpa has urged the government to back the aviation sector with immediate effect – or risk losing airlines.
“The government promised it would implement bespoke packages of support for the aviation industry, but where are they?” said Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton.
Balpa on Monday (30 March) said the government must stop delaying details of the support it promised to the sector nearly a fortnight ago.
The union wants ministers to take action before airlines are forced to make swingeing cuts that could otherwise be avoided if and when the sector gets clarity on any proposed measures.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak last week told airlines they should seek other forms of funding before making any formal application for state aid.
Balpa, though, warned the government not to overlook the failure earlier this month of Flybe, and the drastic measures taken by airlines in response to the coronavirus crisis, citing easyJet’s decision on Monday (30 March) to ground its entire fleet, and Virgin Atlantic and Loganair signalling their intention to seek state aid.
“Aviation was at the forefront of the coronavirus impact, yet airlines are still waiting for help from the government despite repeated promises of action,” said the union.
Strutton added: “We saw the impact coronavirus had on Flybe and predicted then other airlines would suffer severely if no help was offered. “The government promised it would implement bespoke packages of support for the aviation industry, but where are they?
“The sector was thriving before this crisis and will be vital to the country’s economic recovery when the virus abates. But without support now, the airlines could be gone, and the industry will not be there when we need it.
“Airlines have done what they can to mitigate the effect of having almost no revenue for the summer, their key earning period, as they were asked to do. Now the government needs to fulfil its promise to help, before it is too late.”