The UK Travel Retail Forum (UKTRF) trade association has called on the government to urgently step in to support the UK aviation and travel retail sector.
Government actions to slow the spread of COVID-19 have led to 70%+ traffic reduction over the last few days, according to the forum. Those worst affected are airport operators, travel retail operators, and landside, airside and maritime concessionaires.
“COVID-19 poses a clear threat to the UK and international travel system. The government has previously indicated it would take action to minimize the economic damage caused by this pandemic. We know that this crisis is likely to get worse before it gets better, and the need for urgent government support measures is clear,” said UKTRF chair François Bourienne.
“The aviation and travel retail industry contributes billions [of pounds]to the UK economy and supports nearly one million jobs. The travel retail sector is a key part of the industry, often contributing as much as 50% of the revenue streams of airports and ports. The support of the government at this time would be very welcome.”
Bourienne added, “Without urgent government support many airports and travel retailers may have to close their doors. Without a well-functioning airport and travel retail sector the UK’s economy will face a much longer road to recovery, and regional connectivity will suffer for some time to come.”
The UKTRF has written to government ministers asking for support measures that will enable the industry to weather the worst of the crisis and be in a position to make a meaningful economic contribution when the UK recovers from COVID-19. These measures include short term financial relief and the inclusion of the industry in any government-backed compensation schemes developed.