The UK Government’s announcement on travel corridors and the relaxation of quarantine is a good first step on the path towards getting the aviation industry back on its feet. The pilots union is working with airlines, the regulators and Government to ensure the return to the skies is carried out in a safe manner and that the wellbeing of pilots, crew and passengers is a priority.
At the same time, BALPA has urged the government to go further and called for a roadmap to recovery for the aviation industry. BALPA says airlines continue to act in an opportunistic manner, announcing job cuts despite signs of a return in demand.
An industry-wide plan needs to be put in place to prevent such cuts that could mean an inability to meet demand when it returns, and lead to a delay in the UK economic recovery.
Pilots want to ensure that passengers can safely and quickly get flying again, to help people reunite with family and friends, to carry out essential business and for much-needed holidays. So this announcement is a good step forward after the setbacks caused by the Government quarantine announcement in the first place.
We are working with the authorities to ensure this return to operations is safe, to protect pilots and crew and give passengers the confidence to fly. The aviation industry will undoubtedly be a vital part of the UK economic recovery and we need to do all we can now to ensure it survives this crisis as a world leader.
But we are concerned that while some airlines are beginning to announce a return to flights, many are still planning massive pilot job cuts. If airlines are allowed to continue to use the coronavirus crisis as a cover for mass cuts and reductions in terms and conditions, vital skills will be lost, the industry will not be able to capitalise on a return in demand, and the economic recovery will be put in jeopardy.
That’s why we continue to call on the Government to put in place a roadmap for recovery that will prevent such cuts and guide the UK aviation industry back to its place as a world leader.