Iata has added its voice to industry calls on the UK government to include “a vision for lifting border restrictions” and restarting air travel in recovery plans due to be outlined on February 22.
But Iata insisted it is “not demanding a date” for a restart, echoing the calls of UK airline chiefs.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to lay out “a roadmap” for re-opening the economy on Monday.
Iata noted the shutdown of the UK economy had resulted in the biggest one-year decline in GDP fpr more than 300 years and London had lost its position as “the world’s most-connected city”.
The association said 860,000 jobs in aviation, travel and tourism jobs currently depend on government furlough schemes and warned that if current border restrictions remain in place the UK economy could be damaged “for a generation or more”.
It noted that prior to the Covid-19 pandemic UK aviation supported 960,000 jobs and contributed an estimated £57 billion in GDP, including indirect and ‘induced’ impacts.
In a statement, Iata said: “It is vital the air transport industry is included in the government’s plan for rolling back lockdown restrictions.
Rafael Schvartzman, Iata regional vice-president for Europe, said: “We recognize the government has a difficult balancing act between unlocking the economy and safeguarding public health.
“We are not demanding a date for border restrictions to be lifted. But Prime Minister Johnson must set out a vision for how international travel can and will be restarted as the pandemic ends.
“That vision would include explaining how a phased reduction of restrictions would work, and the levels to which infections or hospitalisations would need to fall to trigger those reductions.”
He said “this science-based approach” would give the industry and consumers “the certainty to plan for take-off”.
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