Transport Secretary Grant Shapps recorded a Webinar speech which was described as “a damp squid”.

The much-heralded opener by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps at the Airport Operators Association Annual Conference last Monday for the most part turned out to be a repetition of past statements and promises. Nothing new.

The conference, held in partnership with Willis Towers Watson, a London-based leading global advisory, broking and solutions company, provided the aviation industry with a timely forum to present their strong and unified voice in the current challenging times.

Mr Shapps began by reminding all those tuned in that eight months ago 800 guests gathered at the Grosvenor House London for the AOA dinner.  Mr Shapps himself socialised that evening once the formal part was over. Even then we all knew the threat posed by the virus was extremely serious, but not its results.

He reminded viewers that the lateral flow tests currently being trialled in Liverpool gave hope for optimism but that was not news.  He mentioned the Jet Zero Council and in a more positive manner the new Global Travel Task Force which he co-chairs with the Health Secretary.

This was the only really positive part of the speech.  “I want you to know that we’ve been making good progress on a ‘test to release’ programme to launch once we’re out of lockdown.  This will consist of a single test for arrivals into the UK, provided by the private sector and at the cost of the passenger.  The purpose of this scheme will allow travellers to book flights with confidence knowing there is an option that allows them to shorten self-isolation.”

The Transport Secretary said that they would report to the Prime Minister very soon, with recommendations how we can support the recovery of international tourism and travel and increase consumer confidence.  Nothing definite. And he went over old ground regarding support given to the workforce in general.