With Transport Minister Grant Shapps doing the rounds of the TV stations (from home) the Government issued new guidelines for travel last Wednesday (13 May).

Mr Shapps emphasised the need to give confidence to both passengers and the operators. His vague words regarding the so called 14-day rule did not go down well with the air transport industry.

Tim Alderslade, CEO of Airlines UK, the industry association representing UK-registered carriers, said: “Public health must of course be the priority and we respect the Sage advice. We all – including Government – need to adapt to the new normal but closing off air travel in this way is not the way to achieve this. Ministers are effectively telling people they can no longer travel for the foreseeable future and airlines will respond to that by grounding their operations – and that is why they require urgent additional Government support to get through this growing crisis.”

The main thrust of Mr Shapps message was that people should only go to work if they cannot do their jobs from home.

“Even as transport begins to revert to a full service, the two metre social distancing rule will only leave effective capacity for 1 in 10 passengers overall. It is therefore crucial that we protect our network by minimising the pressures placed upon it and ensure it is ready to serve those who need it most,” he said.

Transport operators were also highlighted “They know inside out the needs of their customers and their workers, and they understand like no one else, their industries’ own specific challenges.”

Clearly flexibility was required.  “It is likely that there will be no one-size-fits-all approach to its implementation, it will need to be tailored into locally based plans that reflect specific needs.”

Transport guidance for passengers and operators.