Boris Johnson’s Covid defense ‘a joke’, says Willie Walsh at aviation conference

Top aviation industry official Willie Walsh has blasted British politicians for criticizing long airport lines and canceled flights as Covid-19 cases eased, in return for attacking Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s own response to the pandemic.

Look at the UK, Boris Johnson, he highlights one of the reasons he should continue to be Prime Minister as the way he has dealt with the pandemic. What a joke. They should have done a hell of a lot better,” Mr Walsh, director general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), told the Paris Air Forum.

Downing Street did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Under Mr Johnson’s leadership, Britain had one of the best vaccination rates among the G7 countries and invested billions in a jobs support scheme. However, it also suffered one of the worst fatalities and economic impacts.

Mr Johnson survived a confidence vote in Parliament on Monday.

Earlier this month, Britain’s Transport Secretary Grant Shapps urged airlines to stop selling tickets for flights they can’t staff, while Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab recently told Sky News airlines should have recruited more. Both men serve in Mr Johnson’s cabinet.

Mr Walsh said airlines were unable to hire staff earlier this year as UK traffic was disrupted and the industry feared new potential Covid-19 measures.

“You have the politicians saying the airlines should have ramped up sooner. No, they shouldn’t,” Mr Walsh said. “Airlines would have gone broke if they did what these idiot politicians say they should have done.”

A setback in air travel has resulted in long queues in Dublin and at some UK airports and Amsterdam in recent weeks as airport managers struggle to fill vacancies. Boris Johnson’s Covid defense ‘a joke’, says Willie Walsh at aviation conference

Fry Electronics Team

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