Business rates relief for airports brings less than fortnight of respite, says AOA

The current tax relief programme for the industry is expected to bring only 13 days of respite

The Airport Operators Association (AOA) has calculated that UK airports experienced losses of £163.8m in January, prior to the enforcement of the latest travel restrictions.

Last month, the government presented its new initiative – the Airport Ground Operations Support Scheme – in which commercial airports in England can apply for up to £8m in business rates relief.

The AOA predicts that over £60m will be provided to airports from the fund.

Heathrow Airport
Photo London Heathrow Airport 

Referring to the total losses airports in England faced in January, roughly £4.6m per day, the support provided from the scheme is expected to last under two weeks.

Karen Dee, chief executive of the AOA, welcomes the new initiative, but still believes more needs to be done as its “expected to bring less a fortnight of respite” for the industry.

“These levels of losses are unsustainable for any business. The UK and devolved governments should urgently support airports by providing sufficient funds for them to remain open for freight and other critical services, such as Royal Mail, police, air ambulances, coastguard and offshore oil, gas and wind operations,” she commented.

“Moreover, as airports must avoid a lost summer, the UK and devolved governments should set out a four-nation pathway out of the current restrictions based on clear, risk-based criteria to enable the safe restart of international travel and give airports and passengers confidence there is a future for them.”