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Aviation industry buckles up for turbulent times

  • Quarantine, recession and caution about infection are causing colossal damage to every aspect of aviation.
  • The industry forecasts that last year’s passenger levels won’t return until 2024, and long-haul international markets will take longest to come back.
  • The disruption is being felt all along its supply chain, from wing-makers in Ayrshire to the packers of in-flight snacks.

It was the first industry into coronavirus crisis. It’s the reason the virus spread so fast. And aviation is still among the worst affected parts of the economy.

It’s been hit once more in the past week by departure gates slamming shut, with sunshine holiday hopes dashed, as governments moved to close down the rising risk of spread.

That seems like tough luck for those who have to stay at home, and face the rain and midges. But it’s exceptionally tough for the industry here in the UK that supports foreign travel.

These are real jobs, not just nice-to-have in summer; travel agents, tour operators, airports, airport retail and restaurant jobs, and beach and summer clothing.

But it goes much further than that, because shutting down recovery is worse for the industry than not having that recovery in the first place – it knocks confidence in every foreign destination.

And the damage extends to the large parts of the tourism sector in Scotland and Britain, which look to inbound international travellers. The summer season is now beginning to wind down, without the August festivals in Edinburgh, and without ever having wound up.

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Tech Tent: Congressman, that’s a great question!