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The aviation sector

Airlines UK chief Tim Alderslade said Johnson had “provided the clarity the whole sector was looking for that international travel can reopen this summer as soon as it is safe to do so”.


“We now look forward working with ministers and as part of the proposed taskforce on the practical detail of how current restrictions – which are amongst the toughest anywhere in the world – can be removed, and how the sector can be provided with as much advance notice as possible before any restart.


“As we have always said, this must be risk-based and proportionate but based on the overriding assumption that as the vaccine rollout accelerates a phased easing of restrictions is achievable.”


Dale Keller, chief executive of Bar UK, said: “The aviation sector will play a crucial role in the UK’s economic recovery and we will provide our full support and expertise to the revived travel taskforce to deliver the most considered and effective plan for our sector – vital in providing necessary advance notice and confidence to the industry and public alike.


“Our pragmatic request of government is to provide targeted support for a sector that supports around 960,000 jobs and generated £57 billion in GDP (direct, indirect or induced impacts) until we are given the go-ahead to reopen.


“There is much work ahead and the airline industry stands ready to offer is best talent to the government in order to forge an exciting new flight path for aviation and international travel.”


Airport Operators Association chief executive Karen Dee added: “The prime minister’s recognition of aviation’s important economic role, in particular for businesses that rely on access to international markets or visitors to the UK, was welcome.


“Airports look forward to working with the successor to the Global Travel Taskforce to ensure we have a robust system in place to safely restart international aviation.


“We will be able to build on the significant work already undertaken by the aviation industry on possible scenarios for reopening.


“It is of vital importance that the UK government includes the devolved governments in this work.


“A divergent approach in the four UK nations will undermine airports’ abilities to attract airlines to reopen routes, undermine public confidence in the new system and thus harm the overall recovery of our sector.


“The UK government has stated that international travel restrictions will not ease before 17 May.


“As the worst-hit economic sector in 2020, this will ensure we will also be the worst-hit sector of 2021. The UK and devolved governments must set out sector-specific support to help ensure there are viable airports to be able to restart.”

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