Northerners will be penalized in post-pandemic world of theft


In July, Steve Double, the Conservative MP for St Austell and Newquay, told the House of Commons: “Our airlines and airports face a much longer recovery path than many other industries. Even with a successful rollout of the vaccine globally, 2025 is the earliest date the UK is expected to return to passenger levels of 2019.

“Furthermore, this recovery is unlikely to be uniform, with regions outside London and the South East expected to recover much more slowly.”

Travel rebounded in London, a sign of an economic recovery in the south-east. However, northern cities see far fewer workers returning to their offices. Travel explodes when business explodes. British Airways and Lufthansa have just announced that they will resume services to financial centers in Zurich, Frankfurt and Rotterdam later this month. KLM has already resumed flights to Amsterdam.

Just this week, the Transport Department reconfirmed its view that the South East needs additional airport capacity, and that this is best met by a third runway for Heathrow – a program expected to cost $ 32 billion. pound sterling. Gatwick, meanwhile, resurrected his £ 500million second track.

However, when it comes to saving regional airports, there has been nothing but deafening silence from the government.

Manchester, the global gateway to the north, handles around 20% of the traffic seen before the pandemic. Prior to March 2020, the airport had direct long-haul routes to North America, China, the Middle East, the Caribbean and Africa, which were a key driver of foreign investment in Manchester and the north. at large.

When will they come back? Do they ever go? Your guess is as good as mine. By comparison, European airports account for up to around 60% of pre-pandemic traffic.

The next review of the government’s travel rules is scheduled for October 1. At the very least, it will require a simplified system for travel and the elimination of PCR testing for fully vaccinated passengers.

But vision is needed, and urgently. From the BBC to Channel Four, and from HSBC to the civil service, business leaders have understood that the only way to grow the economy equitably and in the long-term interests of all regions and the four country is to transfer wealth and invest abroad. London. It is time for the government to look north to secure a future for Britain’s travel, tourism and airport industries.

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