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Carlisle airport bosses call for help to support travel sector

The bosses of Carlisle airport are among those calling for the Prime Minister to provide vital support to help the travel industry recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Northern airport bosses say tens of thousands of jobs are at risk without any support and connectivity in the North must be protected.

Esken, formerly Stobart Group, has joined forces with the chiefs of Manchester Airport, Leeds Bradford Airport Liverpool John Lennon Airport, Doncaster Sheffield Airport and Newcastle International Airport to sign the letter.

They are asking the Government to back the sector, which is struggling, in the Budget next week and develop a  manageable, realistic and cost-effective system that would enable travel to restart in May.

They are urging Boris Johnson to recognise the importance of aviation and travel to his levelling-up and global Britain ambitions.

Collectively, the airports handled nearly 50 million passengers in 2019, supported more than 200,000 jobs and generated around £14 billion for the economy of the North.

Passenger levels have plummeted to just five per cent of the usual volumes, they say and it will be at least several months before airports start seeing any meaningful passenger demand, with international travel the only sector subject to further review as part of the plan.

Until the Government’s Global Travel Taskforce publishes its review on April 12, there remains uncertainty over whether the May 17 restart date is possible, or the conditions under which flying can resume in earnest.

They are asking the Government to consider options including:

  • Relief from fixed costs paid to Government.
  • A sector-specific extension of the furlough scheme to help the hundreds of thousands of jobs supported by the industry.
  • Measures to boost the sector by reducing the cost of travel and spurring on Northern aviation.