UK airports to receive financial aid from government before April

The UK Government has said it will financially support airports before the end of March, following the aviation industry’s fervent plea for support due to the new Covid travel restrictions.  Aviation minister Robert Courts said: “The Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme will help airports reduce their costs and we will be aiming to provide grants before the end of this financial year.” (ie. April).  Without any initial date, the scheme was announced in November 2020 for the first time. Under the scheme, grants of up to £8m per airport applying will be given to cover fixed costs such as business rates. More details are expected in the coming days. The lobby body, the Airport Operators’s Association, wants help including a temporary exemption from local property taxes, and help with “regulatory, policing and air traffic control expenses.”  Robert Courts did not mention any support for airlines, which have benefited from general government furlough programmes; BA and EasyJet have had loans backed by the government’s UK Export Finance. The sector wants restrictions ended by Easter, which is when they usually make money, and for the summer holiday season. Most airlines do not traditionally make much of their money in winter.
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UK airports to receive financial aid from government

18 January 2021  (AirportTechnology.com)

The UK Government has announced that it will financially support the country’s airports before the end of March, following the aviation industry’s fervent plea for support due to the new Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Aviation minister Robert Courts informed about the government’s plan to introduce a new support programme, called Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme, this month.

The UK Government has announced that it will financially support the country’s airports before the end of March, following the aviation industry’s fervent plea for support due to the new Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Aviation minister Robert Courts announced the government’s plan to introduce a new support programme, called Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme, this month.

Taking to social media, Courts announced: “The Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme will help airports reduce their costs and we will be aiming to provide grants before the end of this financial year.”

Without any initial date, the scheme was announced in November 2020 for the first time.

Under the scheme, grants of up to £8m per applicant will be given for covering fixed costs such as business rates.

More details in connection with the scheme will be disclosed in the coming days.

Gatwick Airport said that the aid will help in preserving jobs at a time when passenger footfall has dropped drastically due to the ongoing pandemic, reported Reuters.

Before the announcement, Airport Operators Association chief executive Karen Dee said that the administration had to move beyond existing support, including a momentary exemption from local property taxes.

Dee added: “Relief from regulatory, policing and air traffic control expenses would help.”

No support for airlines was cited by Courts, which have benefited from general government furlough programmes but have obtained some direct backing.

Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade has also called for relaxation on travel rules by Easter, before the peak holiday period of spring and summer.

Alderslade was quoted by Reuters as saying: “Airlines have been staying in business by taking on billions of pounds of debt, which will need to be paid back.”

According to new rules starting at 4am GMT on 18 January, all travellers to Britain will be required to test negative for Covid-19 three days prior to travel.

They will also have to undergo home quarantine for ten days on arrival.

Recently, a ban on passengers from South America, Portugal and Cape Verde came into force after a new variant was identified in Brazil.

https://www.airport-technology.com/news/uk-airports-financial-aid-government/

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See earlier:

Chancellor’s business rates subsidy of £8 million covers just 7% of Heathrow’s £120m bill

Heathrow is angry that it is having to pay most of its business rates, while supermarkets and many other businesses are given a 100% waiver.  The government has given airports a subsidy of up to £8 million each this year, to pay their business rates. That is enough to cover the whole amount, for small airports. But Heathrow says it only covers 7% of their rates bill, of almost £120 million, part of which it pays to Hillingdon Borough Council. Heathrow is struggling with a drop of around 82% in its passenger number. It is having to furlough its entire senior management team except its chief executive, to cut costs. Gatwick is probably due to pay £29m in business rates this year, while Manchester and Stansted face bills of £14m and £12m respectively, so the £8 million will not cover their rates bills either. Supermarkets have been given around £1.9 billion in rates help, because initially it was feared there could be problems with food supply. In fact supermarkets have done very well out of Covid, with less food eaten out of the home. Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “… we have supported them throughout this crisis through the job retention scheme, loans and tax deferrals.” 

https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2020/11/chancellors-business-rates-subsidy-of-8-million-covers-just-7-of-heathrows-120m-bill/
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In November, the airports to benefit from the package were:

Birmingham
Bournemouth
Bristol
Carlisle
Doncaster Sheffield
East Midlands
Exeter
Gatwick
Heathrow
Humberside
Isles Of Scilly
Lands End
Leeds Bradford
Liverpool John Lennon
London City
Luton
Manchester
Newcastle
Newquay
Norwich
Southampton
Southend
Stansted
Teesside International Airport

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