The Airport Operators Association (AOA) has this week issued an urgent call to the UK government to offer more COVID-19 support to airports beyond just business rates relief, which it claims will only support transport hubs for approximately 13 days. Figures from AOA show UK airports losing £163.8 million in January 2021 – or £5.3 million a day – but estimates commercial airports will only receive £61 million in total from the government’s new Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme.
There were further warnings for the future of travel in Asia Pacific, with travel data analysts Cirium claiming authorities in the region are keen to delay the reopening of borders to at least 2022. A Cirium report published by Flight Global claimed that despite the rollout of vaccines, national governments including Australia, Thailand and Singapore remain cautious about relaxing border restrictions within this year.
The Americas presented more uplifting news, with Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico announcing plans to spend 10 billion Pesos ($504 million) to develop Guadalajara International Airport in Mexico. The investment will be used to develop a new runway and terminal building, as well redesigning the commercial space in the existing building.
Ontario International Airport reported a double-digit increase in commercial freight volume in January – growing by 15.6% to 70,500 tonnes – on the back of increased demand for e-commerce supplies. It comes as e-commerce giant Amazon’s cargo airline fleet, Amazon Air, looks set to double in size this year and rival carriers such as FedEx and UPS, according to a report by DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development.
In other airline news, Air France has announced it will pilot the International Chamber of Commerce’s AOKpass. The digital health app allows passengers to store medical records including COVID-19 test results, and will be trialled on Air France routes from Paris Charles de Gaulle to Pointe-à-Pitre Guadeloupe and Fort-de-France Martinique.
And finally, environmental activist Greta Thunberg has released a satirical video promoting Mars as the ideal destination for ultra-wealthy tourists. The campaign by The Fridays for Future movement is designed to highlight how billions of dollars are being spent by the elite ‘one percent’ on space travel, yet 99% of the population will need to “stay on Earth” and fix climate change.