MIAMI – The Airport Operators Association (AOA) is sounding the alarm on possible looming airport losses that could run as high as US$3.67bn (£2.6bn).

AOA sees in the “overly cautious approach” shown by governments on their easing of travel restrictions as the reason for a disastrous summer season that the association says could be even worst than the one experienced in 2020.

According to an AOA press release, the numbers behind this negative forecast are based on the “green list” that, at the moment, represents only 1.7% of 2019 passenger traffic levels.

“The Government’s overly cautious approach to reopening travel has real-world consequences for the 1.6m jobs in the UK aviation and tourism industries that rely on aviation having a meaningful restart." Karen Dee, AOA CEO Click To Tweet
British Airways aircraft at London City Airport – Photo : Iain Marshall/Airways

A Plead for a Meaningful Restart

When compared to 2020, which offered far more countries where travel was possible, 2021 has far fewer possibilities, says AOA. In August 2020, travel stood at 22% of 2019 levels, a figure which wwill ot be available this year. The loss reported by airports in 2020 stood at US$3.67bn (£2.6bn) between April and September notwithstanding a more liberal approach to travel.

Dee also added, “Unless the Government makes a meaningful restart of aviation possible by extending the green list at the next review, moving to rapid and affordable tests for returning travelers and following the examples of the EU and the US by reducing restrictions on fully vaccinated passengers, aviation is in for an extremely difficult summer.”

Airports in the UK have suffered repeated blows induced by continuing and increasing travel bans or restrictions and, according to AOIA CEO, the government should stand ready to give airports compensation to offset what could be a disastrous season.

Featured image: British Airways Airbus 380-800 G-XLEF. Photo: Arturo LaRoche/Airways