UK Airport Operators Association call for UK-wide business rates relief

The UK airport representative body, the Airport Operators Association (AOA), has called for business rate relief parity across the UK as airports struggle to recover from the effects of the Covid-19 crisis.

Commenting on the Northern Ireland executive’s announcement of May 20 that Northern Irish airports will receive 100% business rate relief this financial year, AOA CEO, Karen Dee said: “Northern Irish airports will welcome that the Northern Ireland executive has recognised that airports are at the forefront of Covid-19’s economic impacts. Before the pandemic hit the UK, passenger numbers were already dropping and we expect the aviation recovery to be slow, particularly following the UK government’s announcement that arriving passengers will have to quarantine for 14 days.

“The AOA called for the governments of all four nations to recognise the business impact of government health policies and provide further support to help airports through this prolonged period of near zero passengers and thus revenue. With both the Scottish government and the Northern Ireland executive now providing business rate relief for airports, it is time the Welsh and UK governments recognise the role airports play in their local economy, supporting and enabling thousands of jobs across business sectors, and the importance of protecting this for the future.

“As we look to the recovery, UK airports need a level playing field, both within the UK and internationally. Governments across the world have recognised the strategic economic role aviation plays and the importance of aviation being ready to help kickstart recovery. Like Scottish and Northern Irish Ministers, they have stepped in to support their domestic aviation sectors. Airports in England and Wales now risk being left behind their competitors, hampering the UK’s recovery.”