The International Air Transport Association has released new analysis showing that some 25m jobs may go with plummeting demand for air travel amid the coronavirus disease crisis.
“Globally, the livelihoods of some 65.5m people are dependent on the aviation industry, including sectors such as travel and tourism. Among these are 2.7m airlines jobs,” IATA said on Tuesday.
“In a scenario of severe travel restrictions lasting for three months, IATA research calculates that 25m jobs in aviation and related sectors are endangered across the world: 11.2m jobs in Asia-Pacific; 5.6m jobs in Europe; 2.9m jobs in Latin America; two million jobs each in North America and Africa; and 900,000 jobs in the Middle East,” IATA noted.
In the same scenario, IATA said airlines were expected to see full-year passenger revenues fall by $252bn (-44 per cent) in 2020 compared to 2019. The second quarter is the most critical with demand falling 70 per cent at its worst point, and airlines burning through $61bn in cash.
“Airlines are calling on governments to provide immediate financial aid for airlines to remain viable businesses able to lead the recovery when the pandemic is contained,” the international airline body.
Specifically, IATA called for direct financial support; loan guarantees and support for the corporate bond market and tax relief.
“There are no words to adequately describe the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the airline industry. And 25m people who work in jobs dependent upon airlines will share the economic pain.
“Airlines must be viable businesses, so that they can lead the recovery when the pandemic is contained. A lifeline to the airlines now is critical,” said IATA’s Director General and Chief Executive Officer, Alexandre de Juniac.
Alongside vital financial relief, the industry will also need careful planning and coordination to ensure that airlines are ready when the pandemic is contained.
“We have never shuttered the industry on this scale before. Consequently, we have no experience in starting it up. It will be complicated. At the practical level, we will need contingencies for licences and certifications that have expired. We will have to adapt operations and processes to avoid re-infections via imported cases. And we must find a predictable and efficient approach to managing travel restrictions, which need to be lifted before we can get back to work.
“These are just some of the major tasks that are ahead of us. To be successful, industry and government must be aligned and working together,” said Juniac.
IATA is scoping a comprehensive approach to re-booting the industry when governments and public health authorities allow. A multi-stakeholder approach will be essential. One initial step is a series of virtual meetings—or summits—on a regional basis, bringing together governments and industry stakeholders.