Carlton Reid03:48pm EDT
|3,038 views|May 11, 2020,
The professional association for British airline pilots has released a combative statement attacking the U.K. government’s £2 billion plan for cycling and walking during the lockdown.
“British pilots will be absolutely aghast and frankly furious at £2 billion being found for walking and cycling when the airline industry, which is so vital to the U.K. economy, is dying before our eyes,” said Brian Strutton, general secretary of the British Airline Pilots Association, or BALPA.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps announced what he called a “once in a generation” plan to boost cycling and walking during the daily coronavirus briefing on May 9.
The £2 billion plan starts with £250 million to enable local authorities to pay for “pop-up” cycling and walking infrastructure to cater for physical distancing during lockdown.
The £2 billion is not new funding; it is part of a £5 billion package for cycling and buses announced in February.
Cycling and walking are among the least carbon-intensive modes of transport; aviation is the most intensive mode.
The BALPA statement—headlined “Pilots aghast and furious at £2bn for walking and cycling, when aviation is in death spiral”—was released the day after the transport secretary’s announcement.
In February, Shapps said the U.K. government would not allow the collapse of “world-leading, well-run, profitable” airlines.
The U.K. aviation industry receives an annual subsidy from taxpayers through an exemption from tax on aviation fuel and sales tax on tickets.