‘You’ve had 18 months!?’ Ferrari has minister squirming as he fails to answer key question

Nick Ferrari grills minister for aviation on employment figures

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Nick Ferrari was scathing in his assessment of Robert Courts, who has been Minister for Aviation for 18 months and still doesn’t know how many people work in the industry he represents. An excruciating on-air exchange saw Mr Court repeatedly try to dodge the LBC broadcaster’s questions on the matter. Mr Courts refused to even estimate the number after Mr Ferrari asked for the nearest ten thousand.

The minister made the broadcast rounds today to encourage holidaymakers to take up trips as the UK scraps coronavirus testing for fully vaccinated travellers.

However, Mr Courts first admitted he was not aware of how many jobs had been lost in the aviation industry during the pandemic.

He said: “I don’t have the exact figure. Clearly, this has been a very difficult period for the aviation sector. There are no two ways about that.”

When Mr Ferrari asked how many people work in the industry as a whole, Mr Courts only said “thousands and thousands across the whole of the UK”.

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This prompted the LBC presenter to follow up: “Well, what is the number? What’s thousands and thousands?

“You’re the Minister for Aviation, shouldn’t you have the figure?

“To the nearest ten thousand, how many are employed in the aviation sector?”

The floundering minister responded: “There are tens of thousands. I don’t have the exact figure at my fingertips.

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“The key thing today is that people realise they can get out and travel again.”

Mr Ferrari ramped up the interview, saying: “You’ve been in post for 18 months, you’re the minister for aviation, and you’ve no idea how many people work in your sector?

“It’s extraordinary that a radio presenter knows more about the sector than a government minister.”


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Mr Ferrari said that 341,000 people work across the industry in the UK.

The British Government’s scrapping of testing ahead of half term has been greeted as “good news” for families.

People who are fully vaccinated will no longer need to take a post-arrival lateral flow test but they will have to fill in a simplified passenger locator form.

The requirement for unvaccinated arrivals to self-isolate will be dropped, but they will still need to take tests.

Mr Court announced that “holidays are back”. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps added: “The UK has eased international travel measures for Covid-19 and now has one of the most free-flowing borders in the world – sending a clear message that we are open for business.”

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