Tory MPs have raised concerns about airlines saying they are going to have to make staff redundant following months of coronavirus lockdown rules across the globe. But Chancellor Rishi Sunak refused to offer extra support to UK aviation companies as he announced the latest coronavirus economic measures to the Commons.
Asked by Tory James Sunderland (Bracknell) what further support might be available, Mr Sunak replied: “Companies in the aviation sector like all others can benefit from the considerable range of support measures already announced.”
He added: “Of course individual companies have the opportunity to engage with the Government on a bilateral basis where that is appropriate.
“Obviously it wouldn’t be right for me to comment on those conversations.”
Fellow Conservative Dame Cheryl Gillan (Chesham and Amersham) added: “Can he send a clear message to British Airways today that with this extension they should now remove all threat of redundancy which has been adding to the anxiety and stress of so many of their hardworking and in many cases long-serving staff?”
Mr Sunak replied: “She is right to urge employers to do the right thing at this difficult time.”
It comes as on Tuesday Ryanair confirmed it will return to 40 percent of its planned flight schedule from July 1 and will require passengers to wear face coverings and to ask crew permission to use the toilet.
The Irish airline, Europe’s largest low-cost carrier, is to begin to fly 1,000 flights per day on July 1, up from a skeleton service of 30 flights per day it is currently operating, it said in a statement.
That will allow it to cover 90 percent of its pre-crisis network but fewer frequencies, it said.
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This month CEO Michael O’Leary said Ryanair was likely to go from 40 percent of normal flights in July to 50 percent in August, but with at least half of the seats likely to be empty due to “anaemic demand”.
As part of its Covid-19 response, Ryanair will require all passengers to fill out a form detailing the length of their planned visit and where they will stay, information that will be provided to EU governments to monitor quarantine measures.
Britain, one of Ryanair’s three largest markets, plans to quarantine for 14 days after arriving in the country, a move that industry leaders on Monday said would worsen an already grave situation for the aviation sector.
Ryanair said it will disinfect all aircraft interiors every night and ban cash sales on board and encourage customers to check their temperature before traveling.
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“Queuing for toilets will also be prohibited on board although toilet access will be made available to individual passengers upon request,” the statement said.
But Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned that people are unlikely to be able to go on foreign holidays this summer, despite Ryanair’s announcement.
Asked whether “summer was cancelled”, Mr Hancock told ITV’s This Morning: “I think that’s likely to be the case.”
He added: “It is unlikely that big, lavish international holidays are going to be possible for this summer.
“I just think that’s a reality of life.”
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