Return to the Skies

nine out of ten large UK companies say air travel is crucial to success

A new report on the importance of domestic and international travel to the economic prospects of UK businesses and the wider economy reveals that the majority of UK business leaders would return to the skies if quarantine measures were eased. 

In the survey of 515 UK business leaders commissioned for London City Airport, 88 per cent of leaders of businesses with more than 250 employees believed air travel is important to the future success of their business and nearly half (48 per cent) thought that the UK government’s travel and quarantine restrictions were the single biggest barrier to business air travel.

Robert Sinclair, the airport’s chief executive, said: “The UK aviation industry is the third largest in the world and a global success story. But it is not just an industry itself, it also acts as an enabler of other industries such as trade, tourism, hospitality, imports, exports and conferences. We know the demand for air travel is there, but restrictive quarantine measures are currently holding business leaders back from flying, and the UK economy from beginning its recovery.”

The report also revealed that domestic aviation in the UK contributes a £15 billion boost to GDP, including £4 billion in Scotland. A number of industry leaders have responded to the findings.

Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North and SNP transport spokesperson, said: “The report is confirmation, if any were needed, of the huge economic benefit of regional connectivity regional airports to Scotland. The vital contribution of airports like Glasgow in my Paisley and Renfrewshire North constituency cannot be understated.”

Newlands added: “Since the start of the pandemic I have called on the UK government to make good on their promise and support the aviation industry to protect thousands of jobs and time is fast running out for a credible package of support to be delivered.”

Richard Burge, chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “Aviation isn’t just vital to London’s recovery alone. Whether it’s through travel and trade into London and then onward in the UK, or arrivals and departures in other UK cities and regions, London-based aviation is intrinsic to our national and regional economies, and to a great extent the economy of much of the world.”

Tom Thackray, director of infrastructure and energy at the CBI added: “Aviation is fundamental to business growth across the UK and underpins our international trading performance. To get passengers flying again safely, it is essential that industry and government work together to tackle major barriers, including enabling the introduction of testing as an alternative to quarantine”.

A version of this article by Mark Frary also appears on the BTN Europe website.

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