LONDON – Boris Johnson’s damage to the aviation sector should have been another catalyst for resignation. Welcome to the next edition of The Editor’s Corner.
The Editor’s Corner is going to be an op-ed series from AviationSource Editor-in-Chief James Field, who is going to give his thoughts (Maybe controversial) on all things going on in the aviation industry.
James will be starting things off with his next topic being: Boris Johnson’s Damage To The Aviation Sector is Another Reason for Resignation.
Boris Johnson’s Damage To The Aviation Sector is Another Reason for Resignation
News has obviously come out that Boris Johnson did indeed break lockdown rules, and was subsequently fined by the Metropolitan Police for his actions.
However, it is clear that, despite pressure from the rest of the country, and the opposition, he isn’t going to resign.
So let’s give another reason why he should resign. His damage to the aviation sector.
Furlough Was Preventing The Inevitable: More Should Have Been Done…
Now, before I make this point, I am not saying that furlough was a bad thing. If anything it was needed!
It helped me out a lot, but if you are to think critically about this, then the opposite side to furlough needs to be heard, however uncomfortable it may be for your eyes.
With that in mind, it’s clear that in the aviation sector, furlough was preventing the inevitable, in terms of job losses.
It was clear that the sector wanted to cut jobs, and COVID was the catalyst for that.
More protections should have been put in place, similar to what the U.S did with the CARES Act, where no job cuts could be made whilst staff was on furlough.
The Disastrous Traffic Light System…
I totally understand why the traffic light system was put in place, but it was something that was very poorly managed.
It is also understandable why countries kept changing from amber to red to green, but doing so at the pace the government did offer too much disruption.
As soon as you make a change to the system, which they were going to do through the use of Amber Plus, it throws the entire sector into disrepute.
The system should have been clearer and from the start should have just been classified as either Green or Red.
From there, the sector could have planned accordingly with capacity offerings, to keep the sector afloat, but also let the public go on holiday or back home to their families if they so choose.
This would have prevented the high need for the sector to make substantial job cuts to the point that they are now paying for as the Summer 2022 schedule approaches.
Ripping Off The Consumer with COVID Testing…
The cost of private COVID testing was nothing short of disgraceful. This is something that the sector will never forget about as well.
By the time a price cap was placed on such private testing, the damage had already been done. Consumers were canceling holidays because they couldn’t afford the tests, or they had to bite the bullet and pay.
It’s good the government eventually realized this, but with there so much talking about Conservative cronyism during COVID, it wouldn’t be surprising at all if this fell into that category.
Of course, people will say: “If you can’t afford it, then don’t go”.
But that’s not the point. Travel should be freely accessible to all, and under Johnson’s government, this was heavily restricted for the wrong reasons.
Take the £30bn+ in Test & Trace contracts. That was a complete waste of money, but such companies were profiting from it. The same applies to those private COVID test providers at the time.
As someone who experienced this firsthand when I went on holiday last year, it was an unnecessary cost to those who just wanted to get away from all of the COVID-based drama. And I sympathize with that and will never change my mind on that.
There Are Some Elements of Everlasting Damage That He Is Responsible For…
If you take all three points made, you can see that this is having some everlasting damage, particularly in the current Summer period that we are now in.
Chaos at airports as there are shortages of workers caused by job cuts when furlough protection should have gone the extra mile at the time.
The traffic light system caused the industry to hemorrhage money at an unsustainable rate, which also could have been prevented.
Finally, the COVID testing on consumers also created destruction in the sector, as it caused holiday cancellations, which resulted in more money being lost and such cuts having to be made.
It can also be mentioned that the three points above fall in the purview of Grant Shapps, Sajid Javid, and Rishi Sunak.
However, the buck will always stop with the Prime Minister. He has the power to tell them no. And he didn’t take that option, which is why the sector is in the position it is in today.
Overall: Are People Giving Him a Hard Time? Yes, And Rightly So…
Prime Minister Johnson has messed up so many things. And with that in mind, it is understandable why the general public is so angry about the inflationary measures being taken in the country.
If money hadn’t been wasted, and we were more lean and effective in our practices during the COVID-19 pandemic, then such measures would have been far lower than they are now.
You have to be substantially delusional if you believe he doesn’t deserve a hard time. All of these mistakes fall on his watch, and damaging a sector like the aviation industry is nothing short of horrendous leadership.
As I have said previously, my mind doesn’t change on this and is something that reflects the viewpoint of the sector as well.
So, your move Boris. Resign and let someone else fix your mess instead.