James Sunderland questions Aviation Minister on British Airways

James Sunderland welcomes the Government’s statement on support for the aviation industry in general and the offer of bespoke arrangements for individual airlines in particular. He asks how the Government can mitigate the behaviour of British Airways which, despite utilising the Government’s furlough scheme to protect jobs, has still served notice to all its employees. 

James Sunderland (Bracknell) (Con)

I am grateful to the Minister for confirming that the Government would be willing to enter into bespoke agreements and arrangements with airlines. Given that British Airways in particular is ultimately a private company and thinks that it can behave as disgracefully as it wishes, how do the Government intend to mitigate that?

Kelly Tolhurst

As I have said, as aviation Minister, I would expect any organisation to treat their employees fairly and in the spirit of partnership. Absolutely, it is a question for the organisations as to whether they feel that they are carrying out their social responsibility and acting in a good way, but there are opportunities for us as we move forward. We have the restart and recovery project in which we are working with the sector to find ways that we can speed up the recovery in the aviation sector. I am sure that, across the Treasury and the Government, we are looking at ways in which we can mitigate all of the things that colleagues have, quite rightly, raised here this morning.