The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) has warned that airlines could wind down operations and make staff redundant before a government support scheme is ready.

The UK’s pilots’ union said the industry is at risk of collapsing while it waits for the dedicated support promised by Chancellor Rishi Sunak and transport secretary Grant Shapps. Earlier this week Sunak revealed he was discussing a specific package to help airlines and airports with Shapps, as well as support for those in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors.

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In a statement, Balpa said it had been negotiating survival terms with all UK airlines.

Brain Strutton, Balpa’s general secretary, said: “Aviation has been hit first and hardest. It’s disgraceful that the government keeps promising to help but is still sitting on its hands while airlines are shutting down.

“Airlines can’t survive with no revenue coming in and are already cutting wages and jobs. Unfortunately the rescue package put together yesterday are not ready yet but airlines are in crisis now and need help immediately.

“State investment in UK airlines, as other countries are doing, is essential as a matter of urgency before it’s too late.”