Wednesday’s UK Budget was notable for not only its support for the hospitality industry, investment and innovation sectors, but also for its lack of focus on the retail and travel markets.
The silence has not gone unnoticed, but many observers and stakeholders have reacted with incredulity.
Karen Dee, Chief Executive of the Airport Operators Association, said: “Aviation has been the hardest-hit sector in the pandemic, but the Budget is blind to the impact of the near-complete shutdown of international travel.”
BALPA General Secretary Brian Strutton said: “The Chancellor said not one single word about aviation in his budget. I am utterly dismayed that he can ignore this industry which is clearly going to be the last to recover from Covid.
“This is a massive slap in the face for the industry that has supported repatriations, brought in vital supplies and faced never ending changes to restrictions and rules and a total shutdown as a result of Government policy.
“This budget could push many airlines further in to a death spiral and cost even more jobs.
“We must now look to the vital Global Taskforce report on 12 April to give our aviation industry certainty and security and help us to plan a way though this crisis.”
The Global Travel Taskforce’s recommendations are aimed at facilitating a return to international travel as soon as possible “while still managing the risk from imported cases and variants of concern”. Following that, the government will determine when international travel should resume, which will be no earlier than 17 May.
Air travel’s corridor of uncertainty remains.