To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of publicly financing (a) smaller airports, (b) air traffic control and (c) specific routes to retain regional connectivity after the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.
12 May 2020
The aviation sector is essential to the UK economy, and we encourage airports, airlines and other businesses in the sector to draw on the unprecedented package of measures we have made available to support them through this time. This includes schemes to raise capital, flexibilities with tax bills, and financial support for employees. The measures have been designed to ensure that companies of any size receive the help they need to get through this difficult time – which could include small airports as well as large, and others in the aviation supply chain.
The Government is willing to consider the situation of individual firms, so long as all other government schemes have been explored and all commercial options exhausted, including raising capital from existing investors. Any intervention would, of course, need to represent value for money for taxpayers.
The Government recognises the importance of regional connectivity to the nations and regions of the UK, and the positive impact that regional airports have on local economies, including providing domestic and global connectivity, employment opportunities, and a hub for local transport. The Department for Transport has set up a Restart, Recovery and Engagement unit to work with the aviation sector on the immediate issues around restart, and its longer-term growth and recovery.