Back is May I took part in an aviation engagement session with the Department for Transport to raise concerns sent to me by my constituents about the future of the industry and the effect of the Coronavirus lockdown. Following this meeting, the Minister for Aviation, Maritime and Security wrote to me.
She outlined how the aviation sector plays a key role in our future as a global trading nation, as well as playing a critical role in local economies. The Government is keen to see the sector return to normal operations as soon as possible so that it can support the UK economy in bouncing back from the impact of COVID-19.
I am pleased to hear that the Department for Transport has set up a Restart, Recovery and Engagement unit to work with the aviation industry on the immediate issues around restarting the sector and its longer-term growth and recovery. The unit will immediately focus on restart, in particular: examining new standards on health and wellbeing across the customer journey, for passengers and the workforce; measures needed to sustain and boost the sector; ensuring new standards are established at an international level; and engagement with the sector to ensure the proposals developed are fit for purpose.
The unit will also focus on establishing a clear vision and objectives for the sector looking forward to the recovery phase. The Government are working closely with the aviation sector to support it and ensure there is sufficient capacity to protect global travel routes, continue repatriation, freight and maintain vital connectivity. The unit has also established an Aviation Restart and Recovery Expert Steering Group, which serves as the working group for the International Aviation Taskforce – one of five sectoral taskforces announced by the Government on 13 May to support the development of guidelines for safely reopening businesses.
The Prime Minister has set out the Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, including a roadmap for the lifting of restrictions in the UK. On international travel, the Government are continuing to monitor the situation both at home and overseas with regard to the risk from the virus and the challenges posed by international travel restrictions.
The Government’s overriding concern is the safety and security of the public. As the level of infection in the UK reduces, and the Government prepares for social contact to increase, it will be important to manage the risk of transmissions being reintroduced from abroad to avoid a second wave.
The Government therefore announced on 22 May that, in line with many other countries, we will introduce a series of measures and restrictions at the UK border to contribute to keeping the overall number of transmissions in the UK as low as possible.
These measures are due to be brought in on 8 June. While the new regime will be in place across the United Kingdom, enforcement measures will be set individually by the Devolved Administrations. These measures will be subject to review every three weeks to ensure they are in line with the latest scientific evidence and support the UK’s roadmap to recovery.
All arriving passengers will be required to fill in a contact locator form to provide contact and travel information so they can be contacted if they, or someone they may have been in contact with develops the disease. The Government will also require all those entering the UK, who are not on an approved list of exemptions, to self-isolate in their accommodation for fourteen days from arrival into the UK. Everyone entering the UK will also be strongly advised to download and use the NHS contact tracing app once live. All journeys within the Common Travel Area will be exempt from these measures.
I understand that further details and guidance will be published on gov.uk, and the measures and list of exemptions will be kept under regular review.