Unions have blasted the government’s mixed messaging on holiday travel, accusing ministers of effectively "shutting down aviation" and "sinking the travel trade".
Pilots union Balpa said the effects of government policy on borders, quarantine, testing and lockdown had been compounded by transport secretary Grant Shapps’ insinuation on Wednesday (10 February) that people should not be booking summer holidays right now.
The union has called for immediate financial support for the aviation sector. "It has been clear for months that this is simply unsustainable," said Balpa.
"The industry cannot survive through never-ending uncertainty and ever-changing restrictions. The government must now recognise it has shut down the sector and take appropriate action as it has for other shut down sectors, such as hospitality."
General secretary Brian Strutton said airlines were drowning. "But rather than throwing us a life raft, the transport secretary has just thrown a bucket of cold water at us," he said.
“We accept the government has to make difficult decisions in the interests of public health and to end the pandemic.
"But if the effect of government action is to shut down this whole sector then it stands to reason the government must compensate for lost business. The UK aviation sector cannot survive another summer with hardly any flying.
"The government’s actions have shut down this industry. If it wants our successful airline industry to survive and power our post-Covid recovery, it must provide economic support immediately."