The future of aviation

The UK has a successful aviation industry. Heathrow is one of the great hub airports of the world. Several other leading  airports are substantial generators of jobs and an important part of the connectivity of a trading nation. The UK manufactures smaller planes and wings for large passenger jets.  It has a number of important airlines offering good choice of carrier, route and fares. The large and successful UK service, tourist and leisure  sectors need easy access to the UK for clients and partners.

Today the airline and civil aviation industry is one of the worst hit  by the pandemic and the measures to contain it. There are many bans on flying in various countries around the world, and many people no longer wish to fly to countries that may not welcome visitors for the time being. There are also issues over how social distancing rules can be applied to the tight spaces inside the fuselage of a passenger jet.

So what does the future hold for this group of businesses? Will there be a permanent diminution in people flying around the world, with more virtual conferences and meetings? Will there be more national and less international leisure and tourism? Should the industry be planning for less volume, or will there be the usual bounce back as the virus fades?

During the period of gradual relaxation, what steps could the airline industry take to allow flights with greater social distancing? How practical is it to cut  numbers on a flight, and what will that do to the economics of flying? Can the airlines increase the proportion of a plane given over to  cargo ? What damage is the collapse of passenger numbers doing to the economics of air freight?

It looks likely a larger number of older planes will now be retired. Cash strapped airlines are likely to avoid new commitments to buy new planes and to look for legal ways to cancel planes they had discussed buying. Airports will also struggle financially, as their revenues are badly depressed by the reduction in flight numbers and the small numbers of people using terminals and taking advantage of the shops.  How should the different parts of the industry be financed from here?

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  1. oldtimer
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    The proposed third runway for Heathrow now looks redundant. Not the least of its promoters problems will be finding investors willing to finance it.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 6:39 am | Permalink

      So does HS2. Once more the car has proved to be king.
      Whilst I’m sure eventually the airline industry will recover, it won’t alter the perception that mass transport is risky.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink


    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      Sometimes problems solve themselves.

    • jerry
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      @oldtimer; As does HS2 in all reality, the only current ‘safe’ means of transport being the personal (household group) motor vehicle. Perhaps the route of HS2 could be transformed into high-tech motorway that allows for EV technoligy, such as Commercial vehicles being connect with overhead catenary – trolleybus style. I believe Germany has experimented with this.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        One third is tunnelling.

        • jerry
          Posted May 5, 2020 at 5:57 am | Permalink

          @Fred H; Sorry, your point being what?

          • Fred H
            Posted May 5, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

            you want to make a high-speed motorway using 30 odd miles of tunnelling?
            Is that one lane each side or two?

          • jerry
            Posted May 5, 2020 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

            @Fred H; Who said anything about a “high speed motorway”, I said high-tech.

            As for tunnelling (I note you gave the total tunnelling mileage not what the longest tunnel will be…), some tunnels might not be necessary with a revised design remit, but even so, if EV and the ever touted ‘driver-less’ technology was mandated for passing through any very long tunnels. Also remember HGV’s are limited to 60mph anyway, this can drop to 50mph on certain Motorways or Trunk-roads (such as the Dartford tunnel for example).

            Yes twin bores might have to be built for road use, but they will be smaller diameter (think CT service tunnel, not the main rail tunnels), and with savings from a lower voltage over head catenary, not having to lay railway tracks, nor build passenger interchange stations etc. the cost shouldn’t be any greater and could well be considerably cheaper.

            But I admit, I’m thinking out-loud, and out of the box…

      • czerwonadupa
        Posted May 7, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        George Osborne sacked ex chancellor & presently editor of the Evening Standard will not like you tampering with his vanity project he sanctioned when chancellor. Plus vested interests will demand it proceeds.
        PS What happened to those extremly deep basement extensions the luvvies built in Primrose Hill which were built without planning permission & which were only discovered when surveying for the HS2 tunnel?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      Why not in the six+ years it will take to build it will be very badly needed.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      We can certainly delay things by a couple of years.

  2. Mark B
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    There are many bans on flying in various countries around the world . . .

    Amazing what some governments are able to achieve in order to protect the people they serve.

    How should the different parts of the industry be financed from here?

    Not by the taxpayer ! Let the shareholders and private owners carry the can and sell their private islands to pay for it. We bailed out the banks and, as LL testifies, what good did that do ?

    Those that need to fly will fly. Social distancing or no ! You cannot escape this or any virus as buildings with air-con have a certain amount of recycled air. Are you going to close them too ! Because if you are, that is an awful lot of large supermarkets chains closing.

    There is going to be a serious cascading effect. As is works through the industry more and more people, business and communities are going to be affected. For example – Travel meals. Those companies supplying travel meals on airlines will see a massive reduction and will undoubtedly lay of many workers as this is an labour intensive industry. Many of these people are on low wages with low skills. They will not be able to find alternative employment. Less money in their local economy means less money for shopkeepers who, as we discussed yesterday, have other pressures to concern themselves with.

    I said at the beginning of all this that, we should have kept calm and carried on. But people saw a crisis that was too good to let it go to waste. 😉

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      I agree with Mark, this is the tip of the iceberg and you really can’t make any exceptions with taxpayers money for the airline industry alone, does it really matter if a Spanish registered for tax purposes company goes down, out of the ashes if the Government feels it needs to it could buy back some of the resources at low cost and operate a truly high % owning British and British investors airline to the 80% sort of levels that Lufthansa and Air France are. There are going to be millions of people whose businesses are hitting the wall now you’ve decided to carry this on until the end of May and if the children don’t go back in June that will be the close down start gun.

    • APL
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      Mark B: “But people saw a crisis that was too good to let it go to waste.”

      Yes, first and foremost, the BBC, using the biggest megaphone in the country to spread terror and panic.

      The operation with an assured income, could have given a calm and information update daily, but that’s not good enough for the BBC.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Bans on flying? – It does not seem that way when you go onto Flightradar24. You can see how many are up there – all over the world.

      • sok
        Posted May 4, 2020 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

        True although many are freight)

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      What a good thing this post got moderated early this morning – otherwise another sharp rebuke Sir John.

      • Mark B
        Posted May 5, 2020 at 4:32 am | Permalink

        Good morning.


        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted May 5, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

          Does speedy moderation make it a good morning Mark?

          • Mark B
            Posted May 6, 2020 at 4:47 am | Permalink

            No ! Any and every morning is a good morning.

            You should cheer up mate ?


    Posted May 4, 2020 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    These aren’t industries, these are employers of people who have mortgages to pay and children to feed.

    Your government has wilfully destroyed the lives of private sector employees while pandering to Labour’s client state and public sector employees

    What exactly do you and your party believe in?

    What is the point and purpose of voting Tory that when you do get into power you choose to act like the Labour party?

    Since 1997 the nation and its public institutions have royally and regally infected by a vile political creed. That creed is now running amok and your party since 2010 have been responsible for some of the most abominable and abhorrent legislation that this nation’s ever witnessed.

    How do Tory MPs sleep at night knowing you’ve betrayed everything you believe in?

    The Tories couldn’t give a rat’s about the private sector. Its only concern is protecting the Tory party from harm and to do that you’ll tax us and destroy our freedoms

    • Mark B
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 6:35 am | Permalink

      The modern day Tory party has become frit ! Frit of being called nasty. They have forgotten that they were elected to carry out promises that they were made but are now slowly reneging on. eg The Telly Tax.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      Were we tricked into believing we had “done Brexit” to be delivered bound and gagged to a whole bunch of globalists?
      What strikes me is the amazing extent to which everything that is happening follows exactly what so-called conspiracy theorists have been saying for years.
      I so much agree with all you say Dominic.
      How can any Tory with the glimmerings of a conscience be sitting back and allowing this to happen??
      I would not say Labour because I know that what is happening now fulfils their wildest fantasies.
      Do the tories realise that?

    • Fred H
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      your last para is stating the issue becoming increasingly relevant. Time for reflection you Conservative voters, mind you, who else could we vote for? Farage?

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      They’re too busy listening to Big business and big business unions and its to hell with the rest.

    • glen cullen
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      Something rotten in the state of denmark

    • UK Qanon
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      DOMINIC final paragraph That is why Cameron agreed to the Referendum. He was concerned about the popularity of UKIP at the time regarding the future of the Conservative party.

      • Mark B
        Posted May 5, 2020 at 4:38 am | Permalink

        He also needed to silence those in his own party like Sir John.

    • ignoramus
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      This posting is about aviation, which is a worldwide problem and has nothing to do with your comments.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      I sympathise. Under Boris we seem destined to become a high tax and high debt country. That isn’t the way to create wealth. Even today we have seen Williamson splash another couple of billion on the universities – just when the need for REDUCING the size of the sector couldn’t be clearer. This government is fiscally incontinent.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    I cannot see this whole industry recovering for quite some time. I suppose an antibody test would enable these immune people to fly normally. Young people with no medical conditions could also perhaps be allowed to fly.

    So is the NHS coping and has excess capacity as Boris and other ministers claim or not? Given they are not lifting the lockdown it seems it cannot. This is also indicated by the very high mortality rate the UK has. It seem to be little more than tea and sympathy plus a bit of oxygen for most patients. They claim to have spare ventilator but only 10% of those who die have been given one and they are still ordering many more – so why is this?

    • Fred H
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      ventilators require patient to be put into coma, and it is clear the outcome does not have good odds. Some might suggest it also increases the problems.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:48 pm | Permalink


        Govt put ventillator spec out first, but then at end of March put out CPAP spec.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic there are so many NHS staff self-isolating and off with stress sick leave or looking after their own children leave on full pay that they can’t fully re-open. The NHS workers and brave people on the front line of medical care, especially those working in the ICU sections must get bonuses and the money should come off those not working 20% reduction in pay and given tax free to those people including porters, cooks, cleaners putting themselves and potentially their family at risk every day. I don’t mind people being terrified at home this government has made it this way but why if the services are removed should the rest that don’t have this luxury pay 100% of public sector furloughed pay?

    • zorro
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      What do your own written observations tell you? They have never been at capacity or in any danger. A lot of doctors/nurses are twiddling their thumbs in half-empty hospitals. This is a political/economic crisis using an overblown medical one as an excuse. Why do you think that they are all piping out the same phrase – new normal – because that’s how they want it now.


    • rose
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      Read Dr Matt Strauss in the Spectator on ventilators.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      I have also heard of two cases where people were on mechanical ventilation for some time and who have survived. Yet their close relatives where encourage to discontinue treatment as little hope but they refused.

      Is this one reason for the UK’s poor outcomes relative to Germany’s perhaps?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      At last Trump seems to be getting it.

      “We may have to put out a fire” he says.

      Yes, like NZ, SK etc. have, there’s no “may” about it.

      That’s the spirit, Don.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 9:00 pm | Permalink


      My question would be whether people are staying at home too long before going in when just CPAP intervention not ventilator would be sufficient. I have also (directly) heard of some people telling relatives / friends not to call emergency services due to fear of no one being allowed to go into A&E with them. Whether the excess deaths outside of hospital are due to Covid19 or other causes, some proportion looks like it will be related to the Govt policy of protecting NHS combined with excessive fear

      ( and this ignores early deaths that will come due to economic failure – once some countires’ currencies have an economy behind them as they open up, the stark reality of no UK economy will bite hard, if the UK doesn’t normalise soon the Venezuela like risk will grow more and more).

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 5, 2020 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

        Indeed. We will recover fine so long as the cut the size of the state, scrap HS2 and other lunacies, forget about renewable energy and have a bonfire of red tape – but will they do this?

  5. Roy Grainger
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    Michael O’Leary had a good point that the generally inefficient loss-making national carrier airlines (Al Italia, Air France, Lufthansa etc.) will survive because they are being propped up by state aid (actually illegal under EU law) whereas the low-cost efficient airlines may not survive. This is the exact opposite of what it should be.

    Anyway, one positive outcome for me is that the Heathrow third runway project can now usefully be junked forever as the extra capacity will not be needed for years – and perhaps never.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      Well, the benefit from this illegal State aid is that Brussels will have the perfect excuse to fine these big countries to bring in some of their missing euros. It’s time they started to look at a hair cut and close down one of their big locations.

    • Andy
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      Not all state aid is illegal under EU rules. And, in any case, to support businesses during the Coronavirus crisis the EU, with the support of all of its members, last month published a temporary framework relaxing state aid restrictions further – subject to limits which members are still to agree.

      Isn’t it awkward when government hand outs to big business – for so long an anathema to the right – become just about the only coherent remaining case for Tory hard right Brexit. And even that is mostly wrong and a bit spurious.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

        ‘which members are still to agree.’

        rather sums up the EU.

      • jerry
        Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

        @Andy; Actually the problems highlighted by the CV19 crisis have shown up more than ever the need to be free from the restrictive EU ‘one size fits all’ rules, true the EC have relaxed their state aid rules this time but what if they had not, the EU27 economies would have been hung out to dry whilst the UK govt (post WA) would be free to do what ever it thinks necessary – which ever party was in govt, hence why so many on the true left [1] actually support Brexit, some for 45 years…

        [1] rather than being pink LibDems

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted May 5, 2020 at 6:48 am | Permalink

          The point about the European Union is that it is democratic.

          So, as Yanis Varoufakis aims, there is nothing at all to stop the whole project from moving to the Left.

          Now, that is what terrifies the snowflakes on the Right here.

          His ambitions are far more achievable now that the UK has left too.

          • jerry
            Posted May 5, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

            @MiC; “The point about the European Union is that it is democratic.”

            Thank you, I needed a laugh…

            If the EU is democratic who is the people’s elected president of the EC, as there is for the USA, heck even Russia has an ‘elected’ president – the EU28 didn’t even get to go to the polls with just one name on the ballot paper, at least one could have registered a protested by spoiling!

            There is nothing, and never has been anything, democratic about the EEC/EU, democracy has always been promised but it’s always “Jam tomorrow” when anyone dares to ask. With the Lisbon Treaty came the perfect opportunity to at least choose an EU President by way of a pan-EU popular vote, but the eurocrats simply could not allow it.

            As for your other comments, they probably tell us more about yourself Martin than anything about the EU or others.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 5, 2020 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

            Moving to the left……typo
            Moved to the left.

            No one is terrified.
            We voted to leave.
            They can go as left as they want.

          • Fred H
            Posted May 5, 2020 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

            Reminds me of an old sketch.
            Three Union bosses meeting. After sometime One says ‘lets break for a sandwich and drink’.
            The first one says ‘My 250,000 members vote is tea’
            The second one says ‘My 500,000 members vote is Tea.’
            The third says ‘My million members vote is coffee – – so coffee it is’.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted May 5, 2020 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

            Democratic sure it is anti-democratic to its very core.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted May 5, 2020 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

            It is composed of democratic nations.

            So if they move left, then so does the European Council of the twenty-seven leaders.

            And that is the supreme power of the European Union, to which the Commission answer.

            Its president is no more President of the European Union, than is the President of the UK Law Commission that of the UK, and he or she is not elected either, along with half a dozen other UK presidents.

          • jerry
            Posted May 6, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

            @MiC; You hit upon the very essence of Brexit and why a clear majority voted for it!

            It is irrelevant that the EU27 are democratic nations when the EC can direct those nations, and thus over-rule their own Sovereign parliaments [1], to impose EC laws that might not have even been debated by the EU’s own parliament.

            You are also very wrong when you say the Council (of Ministers) controls the Commission, they do not [2], the EC has considerable autocratic powers, true so does the UK Cabinet (via Secondary legislation), but we do at least elected our govt, no one in the EC has ever stood for election to their posts by way of the popular vote.

            As for the EU President, you make my point! So why isn’t the President of the EU elected like the POTUS is, by way of the popular vote, does the position of EU president hold no authority, if so then why bother having such a post (other than to give the appearance of democracy), but if the post does hold authority isn’t it in effect an unelected autocracy?

            [1] by way of binding Regulations, Directives & Decisions

            [2] in the same way as the Lords do not control either the House of Commons or Cabinet

    • jerry
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      Anyone else spot the oxymoron in the winging of the CEOs of these PLC airlines. They object to State owned airlines being assisted by their respective govts/taxpayers but then expect taxpayers to give assistance to their PLC airlines – you can’t have it both ways Mr O’Leary, Mr Brason et al, if you object to State aid then go refinance your airlines via private capital markets [1], otherwise accept that your state owned competitors are just as worth of taxpayer4 assistance as your PLC airlines are.

      [1] good luck with that one, considering the recent divestment of the airline industry by one leading investment companies

    • Robert Harneis
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      ‘Anyway, one positive outcome for me is that the Heathrow third runway project can now usefully be junked forever as the extra capacity will not be needed for years – and perhaps never.’
      Predictions, as the man said, are difficult especially when it comes to the future. I wouldn’t bet on our not needing more airport capacity. I have always favoured Boris’s island in the Thames estuary.

    • rose
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      He does have a good point but why didn’t he realize that EU rules have never applied to France or Germany? Now that rule itself is being relaxed to include other countries.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      It is the perfect time to get on with Heathrow & Gatwick expansion. Alas the Judges and Boris are in the way.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 4, 2020 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        It would take about 6 years after all. Demand by then will surely be back to well above the demand pre Covid.

  6. M Brandreth- Jones
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    If we are to rely on virtual everything then we need to rapidly progress in internet technology.Many will make the choice not to sit in crowded places rather than it being disallowed. Over the last few years I have had two short holidays in Mallorca , one in May and another in September . I cancelled a few weeks ago and ‘e’ mailed the hotel; rather than not welcoming me they offered me the same holiday at half price, Jet 2 who I travel with were also offering reasonable prices.These business’s will continue to welcome visitors however governments may block much activity.

    Virtual communication is always frustrating , with pop ups in the middle of everything on the net. I continually have two companies telling me I am not secure but I have paid Mc A fee £90 in Jan of this year and AV £40, the connection is slow and buying on line is neither safe nor desirable . I have just had £60 taken off me in payment then I have been told that I am restricted and cannot use this facility . I have been told that my name is Benson ;when it isn’t. The larger companies send out one way messages where they do not accept replies and if this is somewhere in America problems are not easily rectified.On the phone I have had calls from all around the world and if I decide to trace the numbers they deny they have ever been made by the owner of the number , so then what is happening? I assume fraud is at the root . This is not acceptable and if we are to live our lives relying on these systems radical improvements must be made.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      But don’t you see?
      Whoever is in charge literally doesn’t care. Just so long as they get your money.
      They have shut down all alternatives ( that WORKED) like shops/banks etc with assistants for example and replaced them with dodgy technology.
      One drawback for the-powers-that-be was that the internet still allowed the exchange of ideas they had fought so hard to suppress. They are shutting all that down as I type.
      We are locked in our houses in a shut down world where nothing works and nothing can be sorted…..and they don’t care.

    • oldtimer
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      Microsoft Defender is free (the last time I downloaded it), works in the background and updates you with a short message about that presence or absence of viruses on your pc. Re phone calls from dubious quarters, just ask them to hold on while you get a pencil and paper and leave the phone off the hook for the next ten minutes. You will find they get fed up waiting. Alternatively ask them to stay on line while you do a line trace on the call; then leave the phone off the hook for ten minutes.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

        tell them ‘my elderly mother is calling me from upstairs, hold on I’ll be back’.

      • The Prangwizard
        Posted May 5, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        My practise is to not answer the phone. It’s not difficult to recognise fake incoming numbers.

    • ukretired123
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      You probably use MS Windows based on your choice of software but their are other more secure choices that businesses use. I won’t go into technical details but you have been hacked. Look what the professional serious businesses use as a clue fruit and what 90% of the world’s servers use Linux.
      GCHQ are doing a fantastic job 24/7 x 365 defending the digital infrastructure of Britain and the West from full-time hacking “professionals” around the world.

      The internet is now the most vital resource but it has taken 20 years and a crisis for everyone to understand.

    • John E
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Oh dear your computer sounds like a real mess. I don’t touch any of the third party antivirus programmes. I think they are another instance of so called cures being worse than the viruses. I just use Windows 10 defender and a pop up blocker on Chrome.

    • rose
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      We must somehow make sure that radical improvements do not spell Huawei.

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    The World at One yesterday spent almost the whole programme going on about Middlesbrough and how the virus discriminates agains poorer people and BAME people.

    I can assure them the virus has no way of knowing how rich or otherwise people are. It mainly discriminate against men (about 2 to 1) and older people hugely too. These groups are actually richer than average not poorer. You are also clearly more likely to catch if you live in crowded and urban areas in certain jobs, commuting on tubes, buses, trains and the likes.

    The endless BBC leftwing propaganda about poor people having bad health (due to being poor) is largely complete drivel. Clearly having bad health is likely to make you poorer as you perhaps cannot work or cannot work in high powered jobs. But poor health as a direct result of being poor is largely nonsense. A typical confusion of cause and effect for political reasons by the dire BBC propaganda outfit. Aided by Prof. Marmot’s Heath Equality unit and some other left wing groups.

    You can be poor and very fit indeed. Just do not smoke, drink too much or eat too much (and eat sensible things), keep your BMI in the sensible region go for a few walks and take gentle exercise. This all saves money – it does not cost money at all.

    • Nigl
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 6:22 am | Permalink

      Once again you feel the need to dump your views irrespective of the topic. It is very rude.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 6:32 am | Permalink

      If we all just did this (as I suggest in the last paragraph above) it would save far more lives than are being lost from this appalling pandemic. Plus it would reduce your chances of dying from this virus too (as it particularly hits overweight people and diabetics harder).

      A letter in the Sunday Telegraph Arts Fight for Survival (Signed by various left wing lords, baronesses and BBC types). It demands yet more tax payers money for “The Arts”. These lefty bores get far too much state money already. Most of it can be and is done on line anyway. Like other industries they should fund themselves by selling their products to paying customers, get private sponsorship, or go bust. As should the BBC.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 6:41 am | Permalink


      Lies, damned lies and statistics. I bet you did not hear a word said about SME’s going bust, people losing their jobs and their health damaged as a result ?

      Auntie is only interested in painting the government (Tories) as uncaring. Shaming them to adopt Socialist policies which leave natural Tory supporters aghast.

    • APL
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      The BBC, the operation with an assured income that doesn’t need to pander to the lowest common denominator has been instrumental in prosecuting fear and dread and spreading panic among its ill educated viewers.

      Fertile ground for it’s insane propaganda. After sixty years of State education.

      It is still broadcasting the ‘headline’ figure of deaths without an actual context. It also gives too much emphasis to the total amount of deaths with out the context of the number who have been infected.

      10,000 in a population of 60,000,000 isn’t worth panicking about. That’s not to say it isn’t worth doing something about but Government policy driven by the BBC media hysteria has been a disaster.

      We don’t need ventilators. We know that ventilation of a patient may damage the lungs, but it won’t even address the real cause of damage to the patient, the autoimmune ‘self’ attack, as the body incorrectly identifies its own organs as intruders.

      But the BBC sent the feckless government off on an insane ‘wild goosechase’ looking for ventilators, when its time would have been better used trying to devise a antibody test, so as we could figure out how much of the population had already been exposed to the disease and developed natural immunity.

      Egged on, I regret to say, by some otherwise sensible commentators.

      Of the > 5% of ventilated patients, many come off ventilators with very little cognitive capacity.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      As Matt Ridley pointed out (after I did myself) a lack of Vitamin D is critical for the immune system to be fit to fight infections including CV19. In the sunless north our skins have lightened to allow is to sop up every drop of sunlight available to create Vit.D. Boris, with top medical support (😂) threatened people listening to their bodies and sunning themselves. However black skin was developed to defend against the very opposite climatic conditions – burning sun – so BAME people in cold dark Europe are chronically short of Vit D as their 500 melamine successfully keeps sunlight out. Seems they are not suited to work in the NHS in Europe – too vulnerable. Well that reduces NHS employment by 44% which is great news because the NHS can’t cope – even when it has almost no patients. So says the PM and his top Medical Advisors.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      exactly. the virus has to be passed on, it cannot choose you as being poor or BAME.
      It transfers due to proximity, contact, coughing etc. Very happy to infect the rich and poor alike.

    • cynic
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      Re BBC and others. It is the victim culture. Any of life’s problems and set backs are someone else’s fault, or society’s. Only Government money and more jobs for the middle class public sector workers are needed to put things right!

    • Richard1
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      It was good to see prof Whitty slap down preening mr peston as he pursued the statistically nonsensical journalistic line that the U.K. has ‘the worst death rate in Europe’. We won’t know for at least a year what the reality is, and it’s clear that different methodologies for counting make comparisons meaningless. The only relevant statistic will be age-adjusted excess deaths.

      Meanwhile the Boris govt has 55% public confidence on handling of the Wuhan virus. vs 35% for M Macron in France. Just like he got 44% of the vote at the election vs a comparable 24% (on a lower turnout) for M Macron.

      • Mark B
        Posted May 5, 2020 at 4:52 am | Permalink

        President Macron suffers from the fact that it was discovered early on that he was wearing no clothes. When Alexander Johnson MP is forced to extend people, especially those in the North of England, will be pointing out the same. Plus. When people realise that they have no jobs and will lose their homes, they will look around for someone to blame. That usually the government.

        This ain’t over !

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      Indeed. The risk profile is far more complex than they describe, and these just seem to be the labels of choice which get picked on.

      Their main campaign should be on behalf of employees placed in high-risk circumstances as carers, NHS employees etc. where the employer has shown incompetence in not coming up with suitable protective gear. Where are those Health and Safety people who spent their lives warning us against trailing leads and to label hot water taps as dangerous?

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      I have a relative who lives in Middlesbrough.

      Well.. WHAT lock-down ???

    • Andy
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      The link between poverty and poor health is long since proven.

      For men life expectancy in rich areas is a decade more than in poor areas. For women it’s a little less but still several years.

      Let’s put that in perspective.

      Most of the contributors to Mr Redwood’s blog indicate that they are retired – most appear to be men in their early to mid 70s – and the largely seem to come from fairly affluent areas, like Mr Redwood’s Berkshire constituency.

      A Labour MP would struggle to have an equivalent left wing blog for people of a similar age to all of you but from poorer areas. Why? Because many men in those areas men don’t get to 70.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 4, 2020 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

        It is free to go for a walk or a run.
        It is cheaper to eat healthy food.
        It is cheaper not drink alcohol to excess
        It is very much cheaper not to smoke.
        Or to take drugs.
        You don’t have to be rich to be healthy.
        It is personal choice.

      • Anonymous
        Posted May 4, 2020 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

        I live on food I buy in Lidls – fruit, veg and tinned fish and cook from scratch. You won’t catch me in a McDonald’s and I don’t know how people can afford KFC and Burger King as a daily meal.

        I train to make sure I can pass the Royal Marines PRMC tests using just a chin up bar and running shoes from information I learned from the internet. BMI 22.

        I am 56.

        There is NO excuse to be unhealthy in Britain and it costs very little indeed to keep fit and eat well. Certainly a lot less than smoking dope, fags or drinking to excess.

        People get unhealthy often because they make poor decisions.

        • Anonymous
          Posted May 4, 2020 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

          My post code is officially deprived yet there is an obesity problem and also a problem with litter in the form of burger cartons, pizza boxes, and McDonald’s cups.

          I cannot afford to eat like this !!!

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      Rather than just make this a BAME, poverty automatically proper tracing needs to be investigating, Stoke one of the poorest regions, my local area in the top 10% social deprivation this problem isn’t nationwide, where were the people coming back into London and other transport hub areas coming in from? Iran, Northern Italy, hot spots in Spain? Then I wonder with us being told Men are more susceptible whether it is their social recreation pursuits just prior to this virus taking off.

    • Bob
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      Spot on.
      There are reasons why some people with Protected Characteristics may be at greater risk but to discuss it is forbidden.

      I tried to mention it on this blog before but my comment was deleted.

    • John S
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Couldn’t agree more. The “disadvantaged” are also less likely to heed social distancing rules.

  8. Wil Pretty
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Despite the ravages of climate change, the air and sea temperatures in the UK are many degrees lower than people prefer for a holiday destination. The demand for flying will not go away.

  9. Nigl
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Airlines get money in advance so always a positive cash flow in normal times. Boeing and Airbus irrespective of subsidy rules will get state aid to help finance the purchase/leasing of their planes.

    Personally I am now already booking flights from September, I will also go earlier if safe, and looking to return to the travel pattern of before the virus. We are getting unmitigated rubbish from both HMG and the do called experts via a feverish media, but I am hoping/expecting both clarity and more ways to stay safe. I know my friends are also looking to release this ‘pent up’ demand.

    My life has to return to normal irrespective of the government and police ‘stasi’. Steve Baker is right.

  10. Steve
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    The UK HAD a successful aviation industry in the same way that it HAD a relatively successful economy. Now it has a depression probably along with food shortages, deflation and then hyperinflation. We HAD a rule of law that was relatively tolerable (even though it was biased and ineffective) now we have draconian rules inflicted on us by cowardly panic driven MPs. This virus will go down as the most blatant elitist wealth and power grab masquerading as a health crisis in all of history.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 5, 2020 at 4:54 am | Permalink

      . . . blatant elitist wealth and power grab masquerading as a health crisis in all of history.

      Well the CO2 SCAM was beginning to run out of steam 😉

  11. APL
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    JR:”During the period of gradual relaxation, what steps could the airline industry take to allow flights with greater social distancing? ”

    I sometimes wonder if you are at all connected with basic business principles?

    The mass transport industry is dependent on high capacity to deliver low cost. Social distancing destroys that model.

    Secondly, the way aircraft is designed, 70% of the cabin atmosphere is recycled. It doesn’t matter how far apart you sit passengers you are going to be presented with the same atmosphere over and over again.

    ‘Social distancing’ on a commercial flight is the very definition of Kabuki theatre.

    Now you’ve destroyed the model of low cost high capacity mass transport. Well done.

    £22bn down the crapper, and goodbye 1,000,000 jobs.

    I hate to think what this will do to the manufacturers.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 5, 2020 at 5:02 am | Permalink

      Apart from our kind host and others here, I think the realisation of what they have just done is beginning to sink in. Reminds me of the final scene in Planet of the Apes with, Charlton Heston. Where he comes across the half submerged Statue of Liberty.

      “You maniacs, you blew it all up !”


      • APL
        Posted May 5, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

        Mark B: “You maniacs, you blew it all up !”

        I rather hoped that it would stay fiction.

        GDP -3% over two quarters is, I believe the definition of a recession.

        We are staring into a ~20% loss of GDP.

        By the way, that’s not a might happen, it’s a HAS HAPPENED.

    • hefner
      Posted May 5, 2020 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      The air in a commercial plane is totally replaced at least 15 times per hour, Boeing announcing up to 30 complete changes of air per hour.
      A teeny weeny bit of research on the web can never hurt anyone.

  12. Bryan Harris
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    The basic premise seems to be that we have been flying too much, taking flights willy nilly without considering the effect on the coral reefs of the world.
    With reduced capacity to fly due to the points mentioned, it seems that the majority of flyers will be those who can afford private planes, while the average person seeking a long haul trip will have to put up with social distancing at Blackpool.
    In one foul swoop, our aspirations and ability to make the best of our lives has gone. Unless by some miracle everything recovers, we will be sucked back to the boring times of the 1950’s where all work and no play made us very dull indeed.
    Air flights have always been seen as a way to escape. If this is no longer possible then what have we to look forward to if this is but a sample of what the Greens want for us.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 5, 2020 at 5:08 am | Permalink

      I think you will find that that is the plan. Force us off the roads and on to public transport – few will be able to afford an electric car. Destroy our ability choose cheaper fuel to heat our homes – less money. Less choice all round – less money. Less money and less choice will result in a drop in demand, which is exactly what Extinction Rebellion want.

      Think about it 😉

  13. Ian @Barkham
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    While I understand the part where the EU has wing manufacture in the UK. I am not sure of your premise of a successful aviation industry. Once yes, but now sold off to predatory nations. The big name BA, is neither taxed domiciled in the UK or UK owned. Like wise Virgin. The manufacture you infer is ultimately foreign state owned and can disappear over night once the transfer of knowledge is complete.

    (words left out ed)

    To have any future the UK Government has to rationalize the motive meant by any sell off. Are companies just bought out by others who see it as a lazy why to gain market traction, or just remove a competitor. Are these sales as many have in recent years been just to implement the removal of IP, expertise and so on from the UK?

    The situation we find our selves for the moment has companies screaming for handouts. The inequality in that is some of these companies (and individuals to a certain extent) are domiciled overseas for tax purposes. The wish to avoid contributing to the UK’s safety, security and infrastructure equally, yet hold their hands out to the UK taxpayer that is playing the fall part, for money. They want the benefits without paying their dues

    Obviously the main impediment is the successive governments actions in creating an unfair unequal tax system where no one contributes equally in relationship to ability. Like most of this centralized monolithic Government our tax system is managed in a style that in business terms is beyond belief. Over complicated, over regulated and bureaucratic. The cost base to administer such a mess must be far in excess of any gains.

    Any tax system that starts out making exceptions, handing out grants, is a tax system that by definition is created to be unequal, unfair and punish the compliant contributor.

  14. Walt
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Stop subsidising air travel in general and aviation fuel in particular.

  15. Alan Jutson
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Virus spreading on planes is not new, virtually even time I used to fly, and certainly if over 2 hours, I ended up with a sore throat and a later cough cold of some sort.

    Perhaps you may need a vaccine passport when eventually one is available.
    No idea if suitable or not but perhaps in the meantime they could hook up everyone to the planes oxygen system, although I doubt that will cope for lengthy periods, so would need to be massively enlarged even if it could be used.

    One thing for sure, most air conditioning systems in most establishments will probably need some sort of medical grade air filter which will need a regular change if we continue to work, travel, enjoy life in overcrowded sealed boxes.

  16. GilesB
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Add Avionics and aero-engines to UK capabilities.

    Halving the number of passengers would have very little impact on airline costs. Indeed with reduced passenger volumes airport charges will have to increase substantially.

    Tripling of fares would keep airlines afloat.

    Will there be demand at that price? Or indeed at any price. Not for holiday traffic while hotel beaches and pools and spas are closed: let alone restaurants and bars.

    But Spain is relaxing some of those restrictions from today on four small islands as a pilot. So we shall see.

    The fourteen day quarantine on return will be the bigger deterrent. To save the airlines we will need a smart way to deal with that, or a lot of cash grants.

    Posted May 4, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Immunity passports. Abolition of cash. Authoritarian laws to remain codified for a considerable period. Most of these ideas are sneakily aired in the wider press using the various outlets. We are slowly being softened up by the faux Tory-Marxist Labour political State for another bout of conditioning, control and monitoring using the CV-19 for justification…all for our own safety and benefit of course

    This is what happens when middle of the road voters elect the two main parties who masquerade as something they’re not. The free-lunch, State dependent culture is used to lure people into the State’s web and then whack, you’re OWNED

    This would not be happening with a Brexit party opposition in Parliament

    People get the politicians they deserve. Some voters have been deceived and their naivety has guaranteed our subjugation

    Thatcher will be turning in her grave…

    • Mark B
      Posted May 5, 2020 at 5:11 am | Permalink

      A government big enough to give you everything you want, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have.

  18. Bus wot did it
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    This England This septic tank, a silver sea?

  19. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Certainly no bridge financing by the government.

    It will be a long haul back, and they might never fully recover. This will be partly at least due to the green lobby which will take advantage of the downturn to prevent it picking up again unless cleaner solutions are found.

    On the plus side, perhaps we will go back to appreciating the novelty of flying, much as we did in the seventies. Flying has to become more expensive, better controlled and a more pleasant experience than the cattle hoarding experience of the past 20 years or so.

  20. Bus wot did it
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Do rivers have tides, flush back? Is Scotland where you can ride, surf on an incoming river wave once per year? A number of rivers do this. I believe Connecticut has such a river. Interconnectedness.

  21. Lifelogic
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Chris Whitty’s Gresham Lecture (on BBC News now) is interesting.

    There is clearly going to be a huge excess of aircraft for some time. Aircraft manufactuing and servicing is going to be hit hugely. Rolls Royce to cut 8000 jobs it seem might well be more I suspect. I suppose govenment could usefully advance some defence contract in this industry (where they are sensible ones).

  22. jerry
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    “The UK has a successful aviation industry. Heathrow is one of the great hub airports of the world.”

    Err, I think you might mean the UK has a successful international travel industry, true the UK has some aviation industry, but most is tied to the coat-tales of Boeing, Airbus or defence.

    Well I doubt we need the third runway at Heathrow (never mind Mr Life’s often suggested Heathwick ‘idea’), whilst international airlines and airports now face the same economic realities as the transatlantic shipping lines & ports did back in the 1960s, the industry will not cease but will have to significantly prune its fleet, as you suggest.

    • jerry
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Our host asks;

      “During the period of gradual relaxation, what steps could the airline industry take to allow flights with greater social distancing?”

      What’s the point of a plane load of passengers maintaining social distancing if they are going to be, or have been, sealed into a metal tube breathing each others air for 1 to 24 hours, considering that it will only take one asymptomatic passenger to successfully pass through any pre-flight health checks. The real question is how the destination govt deals with passenger arrivals, and what effect any imposed period of isolation/quarantine on passengers will temper their wish to travel outside of their own country at all.

    • jerry
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

      Sounds like GE Aviation thinks the airline industry downturn will be protracted, announcing up to 13,000 staff. Not good. 🙁

      I won’t post a link, but search the BBC news site for “GE to cut up to quarter of its aviation staff”.

  23. Caterpillar
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    (1) For those flying I think the future will look like:

    Action on cabin air:

    Strong vertical airflow before boarding begins and maintained until deplaning finishes.
    Good HEPA filters and appropriate regulations for changing (have the experiments been done for effectiveness during long haul?)

    Action on surfaces:

    Proper cleaning of plane surfaces between changeovers and during flights. More hand sanitizer on plane.

    Action on boarding and deplaning:

    Boarding and deplaning will need to be better and more strictly organised as this is where very close proximity occurs for cheaper flights / cattle class (a bit like standing on a packed tube).

    (2) I hope world travel isn’t drastically reduced as that could lead to populations without immunity build up. Earlier virus strains can lead to partial immunity when more deadly versions circulate; it is not clear to me that we should cut this off.

    (3) But the world does need to carefully evaluate the WHO advice that flying out of China was OK during the latest outbreak.

    (4) For engineers, technicians, manufacturing staff etc. laid off due to less demand in aviation industry UK needs to ensure it keeps its other engineering projects running (e.g. HS2 and supply thereto).

    • Caterpillar
      Posted May 5, 2020 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

      Vertical airflow and HEPA filters are clearly already effective in modern planes with good systems installed. Alongside some of the creative screen designs that are coming out this may well be adequate in flight if boarding / de-planning sorted.

      *** A follow up ***

      Research papers are coming out on air conditioning systems that are not vertical and without HEPA filters potentially spreading covid19 droplets in restaurants in China. Rather than looking at planes as a problem I wonder whether the vertical flow + hospital grade HEPA filters could be used in UK hospitality if the lockdown is lifted (I don’t know what rules are but in restaurants the air conditioning I have felt seems multidirectional). If engineering resource is becoming available from the aviation industry and Govt is looking to support economic recovery then is this an area that could be improved and subsidised?

  24. Caterpillar
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink


    On transport generally UK needs to find approach to upping its number of trains and buses to spread out passengers. The unions should not be standing in the way of this.

    I do though support staggered rush hour (which may be difficult with children going to school) and scheduled office weeks where possible (e.g. alternate week in office, week home work) to maintain some automatic isolation – I think the schedule of this is better than work at home if possible as people may go in once or twice a week to catch up (the work patterns need to be modelled).

  25. Lifelogic
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Aviation will of course come back in the medium term. It would make sense to get on with Heathrow or better still my preferred option of Heathwick an additional runway at each and a high speed rail link between the two to make a proper five runway London Hub Airport. Indeed an ideal time to get on with it.

    A shame Boris and the deluded high court judges disagree. Appeal court says decision to give Heathrow go-ahead “not consistent with Paris agreement”, so scrap the absurd and hugely expensive lunacy of Paris Agreement then!

  26. Ian @Barkham
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    Your question isn’t that far adrift remedy wise from the situation you posed with the High Street.

    The UK as with numerous other countries have tax system that are built on what was needed in the 1800’s where countries were for all intensive purposes self contained. The tax required from all was to fund the infrastructure safety and security of the Nations of the day. This tax helped fuel the wealth of the nation.

    People didn’t travel then, trade between nations wasn’t as dynamic. As the nations grew they just tweaked the existing tax structure, not with any serious intent but just enough to counter the imbalances that were creeping in. Then as time went on the imbalances had to be changed because of the imbalances that had already been created were themselves imbalances. Not replaced, but doctored tweaked and multi layered.

    The movement of people, the way we communicate and the way we trade now is a galaxy. Over simplifying my reasoning, why would I go into my local bookshop to buy JR’s latest publication, have the hassle of the over zealous private contracted Parking Wardens or over expensive parking charges(The local council money machine). When instead I could just go online have it delivered and for the most part at a saving from Amazon.

    The point being taxes paid created the wealth and wellbeing of our society. That’s not only roads its education and health. These taxes created the infrastructure that allows commerce to take place. If then others are permitted to arrive and thrive of that society yet avoid(legally) paying the same share as the existing payees, that is the Government permitting exploitation. That is Government neglecting its duties to ensure the wealth, safety and security of the Nation. That is not only unfair but it is could also be reasoned as some form of theft, sponsored by our own authorities.

    A fair Society is one where every part of it that enjoys the benefits it has created pays taxes equally to ensure there is a tomorrow and it hasn’t just redistributed the UK’s wealth to foreign lands. The current system of tax can not do this it is designed for another age and is no longer fit for purpose. It is either rebooted differently or the UK will continued to be punished by those ‘just’ out to exploit.

    Our High Streets have been exploited this way, by online and out-of-town facilities.

    When the UK used to have a Aircraft Industry they were exploited and their tax base removed, their Intellectual Property removed. All these highly taxpayer funded assets finding there way into the hands of Foreign powers for their own gain. The benefits of the UK educational system, the technology it created, gone, lost. All managed by others not having to contribute to the society that created it in the first place. In not contributing they in turn diminished the cost base that would have created the industries replacement and replenishment.

    The UK needs, not necessarily go the UK first route, but ensure the tax contributions, the funding of our society is capable of being equal contributed by all who wish to benefit from it. In needs radicle change, we are no longer in the 1800’s. Get it right, then as markets change we still have a funding base to react. We will have the funding for a modern infrastructure, a modern education system that ensure the safety and security of all. After all isn’t that what ‘we’ pay our government to do!

  27. a-tracy
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    It’s getting quieter at work now, we’ve managed to keep this ticking over on about 70-80% of capacity but this latest news of June, the message that continued necessity for social distancing for months after people do go back to work is causing business to start making their big decision right now about whether it is worth cutting.

  28. Monopoly or not(?)
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    The quickest way to lose money on the stock market is to buy shares in airlines was always the mantra.
    Here and now we have allowed competition. Good. But if the tax-payer has to bail out private companies and because of laws has to bail all of them out even the undercutters who will all be chasing a much decreased number of travellers then we will have done a disservice to the tax-payer and kicked the large and established airlines in their fuselages.

  29. blearyeyed
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    With the brexit break coming right at the tail end of Covid we are entering a different warp. Global travel and business engagement will not be the same again ever- not for holidays and not for business- it will become much too costly and cumbersome to travel outside Britain. In time historians and economists will look back and marvel at how good we had it for those decades the 70’s, 80’s right up until 2020. Virtual communication will then become the obvious choice for people who have to trade and deal at long distance- wings for larger planes will be made in Europe and in the UK small planes and ferry boats will still fly and sail for domestic reasons- however the Isle of Man will still be there for holidays- it’ll be a bit like back to the future.

  30. glen cullen
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    And while the MSM talk softly and government hold talks and the green parties leap with joy

    BAe say they’re going to sack 8,000 employees, there’s a big question mark against AirBus wing manufacturing with potential loss of 2,000 employees and an unknown number of jobs at risk in the supply chain

    Also pilots, aircrew and ground staff of airlines are at risk of losing their jobs as the sector reduces in capacity due to collapse of flight numbers

    Don’t worry I am sure that national and local government will appoint further committees and advisors to help the sector

  31. formula57
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    With Warren Buffet accepting huge losses to divest entirely from airlines we can be assured the industry has a bleak future in comparison to its recent past and it seems that it now needs to reduce capacity substantially. Accordingly, the taxpayer might be spared providing funding and subsidies to preserve existing airlines. They will not all fail so the UK will still preserve a strategic reserve of aircraft.

    As for manufacturing, there may well be opportunities for UK industry amidst the restructuring. The government might do well to offer encouragement and perhaps some financial support.

  32. Christine
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    It will take many years for the travel industry to recover. Retired people make up the majority of spending on cruises and expensive holidays but this group is being told to socially isolate for the long term.

    If the Government wants to help the airports then scrap the airport tax. This tax has seen off many of our smaller regional airports by making them unviable. If we can spread out the numbers travelling by utilising smaller regional airports this will help reduce large gatherings.

    Getting confidence back into the travel industry is key but whilst we have the worry of a second wave of this virus looming this will be very difficult. Who’s going to want to risk having their holiday cancelled again, particularly with the problems people are having getting their money back from tour operators.

    It’s the holiday destination countries that have to drive this recovery, as they are in charge of the policies for opening up their travel industries. There’s no point pumping money to save our side of an industry if there is nowhere to travel to.

  33. zorro
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    The Airline industry appears finished even Warren Buffet thinks so…. It all serves an agenda to lower emissions, sustainable development – rings a bell perhaps?


  34. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Early hours of this morning, on the BBC radio, I heard that 49 had been “intercepted” by Border Farce early Sunday. God knows how many once all their families are waved in as well. Yet nothing on the BBC text news on Sunday – in fact some on the Kent section had been there well over a day – not much point in calling it news – when the real news is apparently being deliberately kept from us.
    Priti doesn’t seem to be doing much about her promise to stop it. If I was that bad at my job i’d have been sacked by now.
    Keeping us locked down so we don’t see them coming in? – It damn well looks that way.

  35. ukretired123
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    I personally think air passenger transport has been too easy where many folks fly as often as folks took the train years ago esp in the USA. If you saw the world map of air traffic before this crisis there were thousands of aircraft in the air 24/7 and not just small aircraft.
    Moving millions of people and cargo at ever expanding rates was always heading for trouble. Now the emphasis is on Space travel for the few plus thousands of extra terrestrial Satellites doing everything from surveillance, exploration, defence, internet / comms to offense ….

    We need to rethink sustainable and prioritise air travel in the future for pandemics defence worldwide as I think we have had it far to easy to facilitate spreaders.

  36. Stephen Reay
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    People need to go back to work whilst a solution is found to this coronavirus. We may never find a solution so we may have to learn to live with it. If you keep putting off the return to work people will lose their work and homes and businesses will collapse effecting pensions of everyone who may have retired and expect to retire.

    Airlines will find a solution as they will have to , maybe a simple solution is to use the masks already on the planes to provide clean virus free air ,but a solution will be found and life will go on but maybe not as we knew it.

    • gregory martin
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      “Airlines will find a solution as they will have to , maybe a simple solution is to use the masks already on the planes to provide clean virus free air ,but a solution will be found and life will go on but maybe not as we knew it.”

      And where will you wear the exhaust?

  37. agricola
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Interesting questions. Neither airline nor passenger wishes social distancing in passenger aircraft. It is unprofitable for the airline and potentially too expensive for the passenger. The answer is a bill of health in the form of a visa stamped into the passport in a distinctive colour. It should not be difficult for the health authorities in the UK and Spain for instance to agree a test, an acceptable period of that test before a flight, and a time validity of that test. Testing facilities could be set up in supermarket car parks or any where else that is practical.

    It would be best if agreed between the UK and EU as a whole, the UK and USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The rest of the World when it is deemed safe to do so.

    As I understand it aircraft tend to be leased rather than bought outright, making it easier to keep the fleet up to date with the latest technology and therefore at its most profitable to run.

    I hope my own flying returns to normal before the end of August as it is the least problematic, being one aircraft, one pilot., but I am not betting on it.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      Greta will be after you. She will never forgive you!

  38. glen cullen
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Another 49 illegal immigrants on 3 boats off Kent coast Sunday 3rd May

    Forget aviation surveillance what about maritime surveillance what are the border force, royal navy and customs doing with all the tax-payer money that they can’t monitor and control a 20 mile stretch of water…I despair has the home secretary got a plan or is the home office sticking with ‘we’re doing everything we can’ mantra

    • Everhopeful
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

      They do not have any problem locking us up do they?
      Apparently quite a few of those arriving simply leg it off to wherever ….not even picked up and “tested”.
      What price quarantine?

    • Mark B
      Posted May 5, 2020 at 5:43 am | Permalink

      Amazing that the police can use drones to follow people going about their lawful business yet, those entrusted with keeping illegals out, can’t !


  39. Lorna
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    There will undoubtedly be a diminution in numbers flying.
    Rather than cancelling orders airlines need to,accept the new reality and provide new planes
    with adequate spacing in line with guidelines for social,distancing .
    More hand washing facilities will also be important
    Only if airlines can satisfy customers of safe travel including clean air will passengers return
    The issue of cost then arises but customers taking their infrequent but special,trips will be the future profile for Leisure passengers .

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted May 5, 2020 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

      Could you be more wrong? People are so obsessed with their weekends in Barcelona that they would happily travel standing up in a flying cattle truck – as long as it only costs them £25 to get there and back.

      The airline industry will recover in the first week they allow flying again.

  40. John S
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Aircraft are breeding grounds for bugs, especially since air recirculation was increased following the smoking ban. Maybe there should be a maximum of air recirculation allowed notwithstanding increased fuel consumption.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 5, 2020 at 5:44 am | Permalink

      Or place special micro-biological filters to catch the germs ?

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted May 5, 2020 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

      They should open the windows.

  41. Lifelogic
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    The bounce back loan scheme looks good but it seems to be limited to only about six banks!

    I have three companies that happen to bank with the CO-OP and so they cannot apply for these loans (as these banks do seem to take applications unless you have an existing account with them).

    So what about all the people who bank with Tide, Starling, CO-OP and all the other many banks that are not participating?

    Why no just get the British Business Bank or government to organise loan directly? What is the point of these middle men?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      It is 100% guaranteed by the government anyway so why not? What does the middle man add (or rather take away)?

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted May 5, 2020 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

      That sounds like sacrilege. Why doesn’t the government just lend us all a load of money. They’ll get it back in tax anyway. If they lent me £1000 I’d spend it on all sorts of things. A meal in a pub for a start. Just think of the tax on the booze, on the rent the landlord pays, on the wages, when the landlord spends money at the cash and carry – and they pay tax on their employee’s wages by way of NI etc. etc. They get it all back anyway. So why not just lend everyone £100k and let’s all have a good time for a few years.

  42. Paul Calvert
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    What can we do?
    Apply some “make sense” tests, for example:
    1. Is it an overseas registered company?
    2. Are the using tax shelters to avoid paying tax on U.K. earnings eg booking fees ncome to another, lower tax jurisdiction?
    3. Are they planning to pay dividends?
    4. Did they threaten to move business to the EU post Brexit
    5. Have all bondholders and shareholders exhaunted all means of raising additional capital?

    If the answer to any of the above is yes, no funds should be paid, unless deemed to be in the national interest, and even then, instead of loans or grants, HM Government should take equity stakes in the business and/or grant loans with an option to convert into shares at a later date.

    Have no lessons been learned from the bank bailouts in 2008? Share and bondholders must feel the pain, either by losing everything or having the value of their holdings diluted by the Government taking shares.
    There should also be covenants to any help. For example, seats for UKGov on the board, restrictions on dividend payments, redundancies to first be applied overseas before the U.K., no moving of business overseas or sale of assets/subsidiaries without permission, and finally, restrictions on future senior management pay and bonus awards.

    The worst possible thing UKGov could do is advance funds without consequences for the businesses. One final thing, change the tax system so that businesses aren’t financially encouraged to load themselves with debt. The current system is madness.

  43. Brigham
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    I hope that when this is all over, the government will show some balls and get stuck into the people that have criticised, under the pretense of asking questions. Peston and Morgan have been allowed to hinder everything the government doing it’s job, as well as the BBC at every opportunity denegrating everything. My problem is that probably if the government does do something it will just be a slap on the wrist. The BBC should be taken to task by having it’s licence fee stopped, and nobody working for them should be paid more than £30’000 per annum. If it goes under, so what.

  44. JohnK
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Given that Boris is a green fanatic, who is committed to the impossible aim of a “carbon neutral” Britain by 2050, I conclude that the aviation industry has no future. Neither do the rest of us. I do not wish to live like a peasant in the pre-industrial age, however much Greta wants me to. But that is the prospect on offer from every major political party.

    How about a referendum on “carbon neutrality”? It is a far bigger thing than Brexit, which in comparison is a minor matter about leaving a trading bloc. Carbon neutrality will change everything about the way we live for ever, and yet it has been introduced without any public consent. Our entire way of life is to be destroyed on the basis of a theory, and the people have no say in it. How is this democracy?

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      😂 Brexit a minor thing about leaving a trading bloc’

      It was about having the right to sack our law-makers! There is serious pent up demand to do just that by contributors on this blog. How do you get rid of Dictator Ursula? If you want to see people living ‘like peasants in the pre-industrial age’ take a look around Greece or Spain or Italy on your next ‘all-inclusive’.

    • Andy
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

      Johnson won an election in December promising net carbon zero by 2050. This means we can now tell you to shut up because he won. Your opinion doesn’t count anymore. This is how democracy has worked since Brexit.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 5, 2020 at 7:31 am | Permalink

        Perhaps you might take your own advice Andy.

      • JohnK
        Posted May 5, 2020 at 11:13 am | Permalink


        Yes, compared to being carbon neutral by 2050, leaving the EU is a minor matter. Worrying about tariffs and paperwork is nothing in comparison.


        At the last election, how could you vote against the carbon neutral policy? I had the choice of Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem or Green. No choice there.

        If things as minor as whether to have a mayor get put to a referendum, then the massive policy of carbon neutrality by 2050 cries out for it. It will change all of our lives profoundly and for ever, yet we are allowed no say. How is this democracy?

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted May 5, 2020 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

      Aircraft of the future will be like galleys of old. Each row of seats with have an ‘oar’ passing out of the fuselage with a sort of large bird’s wing on the other end. An ‘overarm and pull back level’ action will simulate the movement of a bird’s wing and off you’ll go. Holes in the floor will allow the passengers, Flintstone style, to get the plane up to speed on the runway. It will be hard work, no doubt about it. In fact, some elderly passengers may not be able to contribute. They should travel in the hold, if at all. Braking will be another matter. I haven’t thought that through yet.

  45. rose
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    I have just had a glimpse of the proceedings of the Opposition SAGE. Just 12 of them, shadowing some 250, and apparently all at sea. Let us hope this mirrors political life and that the official SAGE is more clued up and competent.

    • rose
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      I see 50 of the 250 pool of scientists from which SAGE draws have now been identified. The opposition in the form of Sir David King and co are asserting they should not be drawn from those who work for the Government. One would hope the MoD and the rest would appoint the very best scientists they can get, and that SAGE would do likewise. So how can they avoid some crossover? My opinion of Sir David King gets lower every week, and he must have a very low opinion of us.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 5, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

        The best or those who accept Government opinion?

        • rose
          Posted May 5, 2020 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

          Would you take what is supposed to be specialised, complicated, and technical advice from someone who just told you, a layman, what you already thought?

          • Fred H
            Posted May 5, 2020 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

            There are literally thousands of British scientists in all manner of disciplines. Is it surprising that the Government pays over half of the SAGE? – – it is supposed to mean acquired wisdom, not paid for advice.

          • rose
            Posted May 5, 2020 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

            If you want to be consistent about this then you must admit that every academic is paid by the Government ultimately. Some of them are also paid by other sources, including foreign sources. The days of the independent gentleman scholar and scientist are more or less over.

  46. zorro
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Well done Steve Baker for calling out Johnson on the lockdown! – absurd, dystopian and tyrannical I hope that you (JR) and your colleagues give Steve Baker your full support via Zoom!


    • glen cullen
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:45 pm | Permalink


      • Mark B
        Posted May 5, 2020 at 5:53 am | Permalink


  47. DrPeterVC
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Sir John,
    A subject close to my heart! I was puzzled by your phrase “usual bounce back” I don’t think there is anything usual about the current situation.

    For me the whole industry was in a mess before this started. Many budget airlines had been going bust or being bought up in the last few years (Monarch and Thomas Cook for example). Spanish resorts were already struggling with empty hotels after Thomas Cook collapsed. For me an apt phrase would be “lame ducks” and government bailouts would be sending good money after bad. France and Germany are wasting their tax payers’ money (EU state aid rules were there for a reason).

    As for manufacturing – Airbus made a big mistake with the A380 and the last wing for the last one left Wales before the pandemic hit. And though Airbus originally planned that it could be converted to a freight carrier they made design decisions that meant that (unlike the 747) it will not be possible to convert. Boeing on the other hand were panicking about losing market share for their old and venerable 737 to a more efficient Airbus plane (A319neo) so rather than take time to produce a new design they decided to wack large efficient engines onto the plane with its well-known short u/c. The design compromise was fixed in software because they wanted to sell the plane as not requiring pilot retraining. We all know how that turned out. Again all of that fiasco with hundreds of planes on the ground requiring Boeing to get more loans even before this emergency.

    In my lifetime I have seen whole industries disappear, coal mining being the obvious example. New industries have appeared in their place, which have much better and physically safer working environments. Working in aviation might sound like a dream job – but it can be a grind – often with poor pay. This is inevitable with such low margins.

    The whole “industry” grew out of the availability of runways, aircraft manufacturing and surplus stock at the end of WW2. The justification for building LHR was based on wartime requirements.

    There will be many new jobs and businesses after this is over – just as completely new jobs and businesses came after WW2. As Rishi Sunak says the government cannot save every business. The government should concentrate on providing the right environment for enterprise to flourish so that we can generate the revenue to provide for health and welfare as they did after the big stink of 1858.

    Stay safe everyone – and I agree with other posters that we can stop worrying about LHR 3rd runway (they currently only need one).

    • Fred H
      Posted May 5, 2020 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      A380 a big mistake? — but the best, quietest, most spacious pleasant plane for us cattle class travellers stuck onboard for maybe 14 hours..

    Posted May 4, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Why is a Tory government discriminating against private sector companies and their employees while protecting and indeed actively promoting the interests of taxpayer funded employees of Labour’s unionised client state and their allied public sector?

  49. Fred H
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink


    Forced retiring of older members of the LORDS.
    Should over 70s have to go?
    – or over 65s?

    Might be you ought never to accept the move across Sir John!

    By April 2019, with the retirement of nearly one hundred peers since the passage of the House of Lords Reform Act 2014, the number of active peers had been reduced to a total of 782, of whom 665 were life peers.
    Average now thought to be 70.

  50. Mike Wilson
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    I find myself wondering ‘what is the point of government?’ There seems to be no hand on the rudder. Massive increases in consumer debt fuelling house price rises? Let’s let this play out and grab as much tax as we can. Huge growth in car registrations fuelled by massive increase in consumer debt by way of leasing and contract hire – that’s okay, let’s milk it for all the tax we can and stuff the environment. Globalisation moving manufacturing jobs abroad – never mind, people can deliver fast food for a very badly paid living. And so it goes on. No long term planning. No thought given to the future. You just react to events while the decent society and economy we used to have gradually disintegrates.

  51. mancunius
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Most business journeys (the aviation industry’s bread-and-butter and the employee’s perk) are completely unnecessary. Improvements are needed in skype virtual meeting technology (which could include sophisticated simultaneous translation programmes or the presence of expert interpreters).
    The whole academic/quango conference boondoggling racket is an expensive and self-indulgent racket. Somebody working for a virtue-signalling wildlife charity told me recently at a social event that she had just flown back from a conference in Jakarta. I found it difficult to keep a straight face.
    Physical client meetings are superfluous between well-briefed professionals. (Though the expenses brigade will huff and puff at the very idea…:-) The true corporate cost of travel should be ruthlessly analysed and shredded.

  52. John E
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    It’s impossible to implement social distancing in airports and on planes. Same as on trains and on the Tube and on buses. Don’t waste time trying.

    Implement temperature scans on entering airports and train stations and on people entering the country – this can be done via IR cameras, just ask the people in Hong Kong, they’ve been doing it since SARS. Or you can re-invent everything again here because we’re special and don’t need to learn anything from foreigners.

    • glen cullen
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

      agree – don’t waste time trying……stop the lockdown today completely

  53. Jiminyjim
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Sir John, there’s an important point here that relates to the travel insurance industry. Currently it is looking as though cover for any pandemic will be written out of all future travel insurance policies. This will potentially have a big effect on how quickly the sector recovers and it indicates a challenge for government. Maybe an area where HMG needs to act in a reinsurance capacity a la ‘Flood Re’?

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted May 5, 2020 at 6:29 am | Permalink

      CV-related cover was pulled from my travel insurance policy in March. People won’t go on holiday – beyond the EU, certainly, and maybe within it – until cover is available. So government needs to pressure the insurers to re-instate cover ASAP, and without added premiums. After all, the existing policies, paid for up-front, have been next to worthless since March – and my insurer didn’t think to offer me a rebate!

  54. oldwulf
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Covid-19 tests immediately prior to a flight = higher costs = higher ticket prices

    Significant improvements to air conditioning systems = higher costs = higher ticket prices

    Social distancing + higher ticket prices = fewer passengers.

    Fewer passengers = reduced travel industry = less jobs = reduced tax take

    (Silver linings might be increase in freight and reduced fuel costs)

    Repeated for other private sector industries

    Loss of government revenue = pressure on the public sector = we’re all in this together.

    The war on waste starts now.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 5, 2020 at 6:10 am | Permalink

      Business in order to survive will be looking to trim the fat and cut out the dead wood. State sector employers have no need as they can just turn to Labour and the BBC to shame the government to give them more.

  55. Tad Davison
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    There could be a way back for the large and critically endangered A380, at least in the interim period. Its size is its advantage. It could carry far fewer passengers than originally intended with sufficient spacing to stop the spread of disease. Cost would inevitably increase though, but it could be a stop-gap until a Coronovirus vaccine is found, after which the airline industry should be able to get back to something like normality.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 5, 2020 at 6:12 am | Permalink

      The air is recycled. Planes, trains, buses and tubes are the worst places to be when travelling. Cars the best. But by 2050 we will not have personal transport so I am not sure what people will do then.

  56. outsider
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    D ear Sir John,
    One possibility should be the use of what might be called a “reverse convertible”. Instead of making a loan that could be converted into an equity stake, viable companies with short-term cash issues could be offered an injection of new share capital that could be converted into a commercial loan after a period of years that would allow the affected company to get back on its feet.
    The reverse convertible could be offered both by the Government/taxpayers and by banks. There are precedents for individual banks to have such temporary equity funds and for banks to pool such funds.
    Where UK companies are either strategic or heavily reliant on public licences or purchasing, such as Rolls-Royce or BAE Systems, it would be appropriate for taxpayers to have a permanent minority equity stake if non-commercial aid were to be needed.
    The difficulty is that so many companies involved in aviation, travel and tourism are, like FlyBe, too flimsy to justify a “no-blame” cash injection if the virus finishes them off.

  57. ian
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    A few billion gone in taxes that all, just have to cut your cloth to suit the new normal, borrowing money for gov own GDP hasn’t worked out that well has it and then putting up the taxes each year to try to cover the cost of it, fifty to sixty billion short last year alone. Gov spending was about 660 billion in 2010 is now over 910 billion or more this year and that without all the extra borrowing going on now, what did people get for that extra quarter of a trillion in 10 years and back in 1990 the spending was 330 billion a year, maybe importing 10 million immigrants from 1990 and borrowing for the gov own growth wasn’t the smarts of moves, maybe if you open the books and traced back all the spending to 500 billion and cut accordingly you might be able to balance the books this year.

  58. ian
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    The problem here is when giving gov a printing press they never know when to stop and just print with reckless abandonment to try and improve their own image for an election.

  59. Ian Wilson
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    It is likely passengers will need to accept higher fares to allow for more spacing in cabins i.e. not filling centre seats. According to Rolls-Royce in the 1960s a person on average salary would have worked for 3 months to pay for a transatlantic flight, whereas until flights stopped that had dropped to 4 days, an extraordinary advance in value, so some increase in fares would revert to the true value of a decade or two back. Some adjustment of our air passenger duty, one of the highest in the world, might also be needed to achieve a revival.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 5, 2020 at 6:34 am | Permalink

      This can be put down to many factors.

      Cheaper fuel. More competition (remember Sir Freddy Laker and Skytrain). Aircraft leasing. More capacity. Better management. Longer flights resulting in fewer stops. And so on. In truth it has become a little over crowded and when something like this happens, the margins are so thin that bankruptcy is not very far behind.

  60. ian
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    The mystery of the Blair and Brown years from 2000 to 2010 of 35 billion borrowed a year and then 5 billion taken from the pension private funds and then 6 billion a year of assets sold which come to 46 billion a year, less than half of the money went on the gov spending book and they didn’t pay down debt and also sold off half of the gold in 2002 and borrowed on the PFI for new hospitals to be built at seven times the cost. I can’t find it so where did 300 billion pounds disappear to John do you know, maybe an investigation into the disappearance is needed.

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      I want to know how 7 weeks of lock-down/holiday can = the debt of six years WW2

      You know, battleships being sunk, squadrons of bombers being downed vast number of tanks being lost – cities being flattened…. hundreds of thousands of young people being killed…

    • Fred H
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      funding mistaken conflicts and throwing out useless munitions and buying more inappropriate items for unlikely warfare.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted May 5, 2020 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      The Tories have never reversed the dividend tax on managed pension funds, and it would make little difference to pensions if they did.

      Many countries have a similar thing.

      It was not just on private sector pension funds, but also on managed funds in the public sector, incidentally.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 6, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      remember that slogan ‘things can only get better’ ?

  61. Paul McGreevy
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Glad you asked this question Sir John though I doubt you’ll ever read my reply. The virus exists amongst the community, it is obvious to me it is not going to be possible to put it back in its bottle therefore it is going to work it’s way through the community until there is enough immunity to block its pathways. .Anyone hiding will get it eventually when they come out. Can anyone refute this? The lockdown has flattened the curve and done its job and is now just lengthening the period the virus takes to work it’s inevitable path through the people. Now its time to go back to work. Economic lockdown is unsustainable and already enormously damaging to our economic health for possibly decades. It’s costing 6 hospitals a day or whatever. Social distancing on an aircraft is poor thinking, basically idiocy. Those who prefer to avoid aircraft to protect their health are at liberty to do so but the rest of the population should not need to jump through health hoops to get on one. The quicker we get back to normal the quicker the virus threat will recede.

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

      + 1

      The vaccine is promised *sometime never*

      Imperial reports it may never actually be found.

  62. Bob Copeman
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Surely Sir John apart from the cash +fuel rich Gulf Airlines most Passenger Planes are leased from Google and other Tech Companies in low Tax Ireland ?

  63. John Probert
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    UAE/Emirates have developed the technology to test all passengers out of Dubai
    with test results in several minutes, this is quite impressive

    • Fred H
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      err….and very likely inaccurate, but sounding impressive!

  64. ian
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    I see that BJ has just made a donation of 774M to the EU leaving seem to be on the back burner and still seeking for a way to give them 30 odd billion for nothing, well I not complaining myself, this is what I like to see. WHY. The quicker the gov goes broke is the better.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 5, 2020 at 6:28 am | Permalink

      Yep ! Then all those public sector employees can enjoy the same levels of poverty as the rest of us.

  65. Sea Warrior
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Grant Schapps needs to get the FCO talking to every last destination served by the likes of BA, Virgin and Tui, to find out what they need from our airlines, so flights can resume. I suspect that the destination countries are desperate to see British airliners on finals into their airports. I suspect that a portion of testing capacity needs to be earmarked to meet the needs of leisure and business travel. Rapid testing at the departure airport (in the UK and abroad) is probably needed. And the airlines and insurers need to cut some slack for those failing tests or needing hospitalisation. If there isn’t a Let’s-get-long-haul-air-travel-going-again working group in Whitehall, then there needs to be one set up sharpish. I will be taking more long-haul holidays this year, on a point of principle, to support our airlines and also those working in the tourism industry at the holiday destinations.

    • Northern Lass
      Posted May 5, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      Not sure about the long haul flights being affected. Yesterday, on a whim, I looked at the availability of flights from Newcastle to Florida in September. They are already full!

  66. Martin C
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    I understand annual flu vaccinations can damage macrophages and lead to cytokine storms with subsequent Corona virus infections; in other words, that annual flu vaccinations are a mortality factor with Covid19. Whether or not this is the case, it is essential that the medical profession collate statistics on how members of the population who have, and have not been vaccinated, react to Covid19.

    • Martin C
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      I understand the likelihood of this response increases with age.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

      the Flu vaccine is yet another Health Industry scam, very bad for you!

      • Fred H
        Posted May 5, 2020 at 11:58 am | Permalink

        oh dear God!

  67. Confused
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    How are infections going to drop (a condition to end this police state?) if we are planning on testing more and more? Surely this is a typical police state trick to ensure it never does?

    • Objective observer
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

      If they do the tests properly, the positive tests will continue to enlarge way beyond the threat of deaths as a result. It will not go away. It will decrease its deathly effects but will stay with us for some time. Our government are simple people. Uneducated

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

        Oh educated but unthinking.

  68. Len
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    In my opinion, the era of travel is now over, as we are now moving to a communist system of social credits based on body activity data (Bills new 666 microchip), it seems likely those of us who will not accept it we be banned from traveling abroad. Also, the poor (like me) will not be able to afford to travel abroad after you rich folk have destroyed the airline industry for us by nannying us to death.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 5, 2020 at 6:26 am | Permalink

      First the airlines and soon, thanks to the government’s carbon neutral 2050 plan, cars as well.

  69. David Brown
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    I feel that short haul flights within Europe will bounce back fairly quickly. Its estimated 10 million Brits holiday in Spain and having been there seeing the numbers that is not going to end. Its probably the longer haul flights and business flights that will suffer the most. Airports need to shrink and focus on Ryan Air style of flying ie 20 mins on the ground. Heathrow is a vast animal that’s probably far too big with the climate change people squeezing at one end and Corona Virus squeezing at the other. May be its best to moth ball 50% of Heathrow and refocus on short haul holiday flights.
    Either way I feel that new business models will emerge and traditional tried and tested style business will have to adapt.
    On an indirectly related subject I managed to catch an interview with a French Economist on BBC who suggested that all governments borrowing due to Corona should be debt cancelled and wiped off ok ok yes it was the BBC lol. This guy also suggested a wealth tax by governments to pay for any damage, I know its been suggested here, and I don’t think the wider electorate is in any mood to see public sector austerity measures brought back. Certainly any talk of cuts to NHS and care sector could be political suicide.
    Having said that I do start to wonder how the government proposes to reduce the national debt?. OR simply run it into a very long term payback because all countries face the same problem (well may be not Germany thanks to their Chancellor having a science degree and crystal ball )
    I guess this will start to be the next big debate later this month.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      Germany’s Chancellor ‘was’ an enthusiastic East German Communist – in fact her father was caught on the west side of the wall and ‘escaped’ to the East. Google it, you will find lovely pictures of our Angela marching with her Comrades. Makes Corbyn look decidedly ‘pink’. Anyway she has managed to crush Capitalism in Europe. Successful woman!

    • Northern Lass
      Posted May 5, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      Not sure about the long haul flights being affected. Yesterday, on a whim, I looked at the availability of flights from Newcastle to Florida in September. They are already full!

  70. Julian Flood
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Sir John, the aviation industry has two wings (sorry, sorry), military and civilian. The USA has always used its military expertise and development to improve the competitiveness of it’s airliner business — see the Boeing 707 for example. Airbus built its success on the wings made in the UK which made their aircraft more efficient than any of their competitors — Boeing’s attempt to catch up led to the MAX 8 crashes.

    For UK aviation to thrive we need a technological breakthrough. Airbus wings are world beaters because of a seed-corn funded, low speed wing project carried out at RAE Bedford in the ’70s. We have the opportunity to make the next breakthrough in jet engine tech with Reaction Engine’s incredible SABRE. A few hundred million invested in that company and we could be looking at astonishing performance figures for both military and civilian planes. Does HMG have the background or drive to seize the opportunity?
    Having seen their short-sightedness in the last decade I’m very much afraid that they don’t.


    • Mark B
      Posted May 5, 2020 at 6:23 am | Permalink

      The problem historically for the UK and the governments is, we have brilliant ideas that take yonks to develop. Cost far too much to develop and then have their funding pulled after the last minute. All this for others to pick over all the hard research we have done and make a success of it. Jet engines being a good example.

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted May 5, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      I’ll bet that this globalist govrrnment will think it would be selfish to hold on to the new technology claimimg this country hasn’t the resources to develop it fully. Far better to sell it. Let City spivs make some nice fees and commissions.

      Governments have thought short term for decades and helped destroy the country. All we make now in the main are low tech things in small numbers.

  71. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    I will not be using public transport. I don’t know how many are of my mind, but I usually try to be honest with myself because it turns out I’m a bit of a bell weather. I might go to America on a private jet, but nowhere else outside of our own country, where I shall use the motor.
    The British Tourist industry will be better off if British tourists take their holidays at home. So hopefully they will boom assuming any of us are ever let past our own gate. How the state transport (trains, busses and tubes), O’Leary and Branson get on I have no clue. I just hop their employees find useful redeployment.

    • The norm
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      I cannot afford public transport . I’m only a public person. Well below a first year nurses pay and always have been.

  72. Everhopeful
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Three cheers for MP Steve Baker who brands the lockup as ‘absurd, dystopian and tyrannical.

    I have just had an elderly relative 9n the phone in absolute floods of tears. She took her temperature and it was 38degrees. She was absolutely terrified.
    That the dr would not see her.
    That the dr WOULD see her and put her in hospital.
    That once there she would not be let out.
    That she would be killed on a ventilator.
    She is as frightened of the NHS as old folk used to be of the workhouse.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted May 4, 2020 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      *on the phone
      (Too upset to type properly!)

    • Mark B
      Posted May 5, 2020 at 6:19 am | Permalink

      I feel for you and her. My elderly neighbours only go out in their car once or twice a week to charge the battery. It also breaks up their week. Both have serious health issues and he needs to see a Consultant sometime soon. Still, they stand outside their house at 8pm every Thursday to give the NHS a clap.

  73. Mark
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    It takes two to tango on aviation. Much will depend on what “destinations” try to do to revive their holiday and tourist trade. France and Spain will be badly hit over the summer. In the UK, the largest affected sectors for employment is “Accommodation” and “Food and beverage service”, probably followed by “Sport and Entertainment”, with no visiting fans and tourists, although obviously the tour trade will take a very large percentage hit – but “Air Transport” is not so significant an employer.

    The biggest financial hit will be on the aircraft leasing companies. Many of those are based in Ireland, which will suffer another huge financial hit as the leases turn sour. Who will bail out Ireland this time? Aircraft manufacturers can expect orders to be cancelled. There may be temptations to divert them into military aircraft instead.

    It is evident that health controls will form part of international travel control. If passengers can be tested and shown to be virus free, there should not be much problem about flying together. However, it is evident that demand will remain depressed by the economic shocks we are about to see, even if the technical/medical problems can be reduced.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 5, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      The UK’s Food and beverage services could have been utilised by the Government to help out School headteachers who are up at 3am in the morning apparantly trying to buy vouchers and feed starving children.

      The public sector wonder why people want private sector intervention in State-run occupations, you only have to have watched channel 4 news to see how outside the box thinking doesn’t exist and children are those that lose out, apparently, their parents can’t cook a meal for because benefits don’t stretch to that! No questions asked of the mother or details of how much money she receives to raise those three children, I have many single-parent mothers in my extended family and NONE have ever had starving children.

      The school gets money to provide free school meals, what that money still in their budget and bank? Why weren’t they connected with volunteers and voluntary organisations that have the knowledge of how to feed the homeless (who are now being put up in hotels according to a program I watched on Sunday, the hotel also putting on meals for them – an excellent initiative in Shrewsbury I think it was). All of these airline food catering firms having stacks of meals unused why weren’t they redirected to these schools with such a high free school meal quota? There are new conservative MPs in Stoke on Trent, get onto this Fegg Hayes problem today.

  74. Anonymous
    Posted May 4, 2020 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    The BBC has finally mentioned China – in the context that Donald Trump is trying to shift blame. They do not mention the Five Eyes revelations this week, nor the intimidation of Australia and the EU by Beijing for daring to question China.

    They mention Trump’s USA’s soaring death rate but do not put it in the context of per million population – which makes it less than half of ours.

    Are the BBC shilling for China or are they just so anti Trump that they are prepared to give us shoddy and incomplete journalism ?

  75. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 5, 2020 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    As long as any major region of the world still has Coronavirus it is unlikely that air travel will make a full recovery. Perhaps the best that can be hoped for is that Africa will be the only continent still suffering.

    I think that construction of a third runway at Heathrow can safely be delayed by a year, leaving Heathrow Airport Limited a chance for its appeal against the court ruling to be heard in full. The Government might publish its strategy for getting to zero net carbon emissions by 2050.

  76. Martin
    Posted May 5, 2020 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Recovery of aviation needs international cooperation and standards.

    Another issue is travel insurance. Most policies are not covering COVID-19 on renewal or for new trips. At present UK citizens have E111 cover in the EU. After 31 December this vanishes unless an agreement is reached.

    E111 at least covers expensive medical treatment but not rearranging flights home etc. It might be worth extending E11 with the EU post 31 December and potentially similar arrangements with other countries to get the economy moving again for both inbound and outbound tourism.

  77. ferdinand
    Posted May 7, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Living very near an airport and having been a member of an environmental noise pressure group for over thirty years, the ability to listen to all the bird song is a delight. Unlike many others in the group, I support an early return to full use of the airport BUT devoid of the idiotic machinations of the stupid Climate Emergency enthusiasts who know they are wrong and are supported by just as stupid unthinking MPs – not yourself of course – who are forcing enormous energy charges on enfeebled consumers.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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