The government has unveiled plans for a new financial support package for English airports and ground handlers serving them.
The support, which is designed to shore up jobs and reinforce local economies, will be available to commercial airports across the country.
The system will address fixed costs and be equivalent to the business rates liabilities of each business, capped at up to £8 million per site, and subject to certain conditions.
The scheme will open in the new year.
The chancellor of the exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said: “The aviation industry is vital to our economy – creating jobs and driving growth – which is why we have supported them throughout this crisis through the job retention scheme, loans and tax deferrals.
“This new package of support for airports, alongside a new testing regime for international arrivals, will help the sector take off once again as we build back better from the pandemic.”
Heathrow chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, said the move was welcome, but more must be done.
He explained: “This announcement can kickstart the UK’s economic recovery and help the many businesses that rely on international trade to plan with confidence and protect jobs.
“The UK government’s testing strategy has the potential to become world leading.
“We encourage ministers to use this as a platform to move to regular testing as an alternative to quarantine and the introduction of a Common International Standard for pre-departure testing which will allow international travel to get back to normal as soon as possible.”