International Air Transport Association (IATA) says it estimates emergency aid of about $200bn for airlines globally.
The global airline body appealed to governments in Africa and the Middle East to provide emergency support to airlines.
According to IATA, the move is part of a worldwide campaign as they fight for survival due to the evaporation of air travel demand as a result of the Coronavirus disease crisis, known as COVID-19.
IATA’s Director-General/Chief Executive Officer, Alexandre de Juniac, said, “Stopping the spread of COVID-19 is the top priority of governments. But they must be aware that the public health emergency has now become a catastrophe for economies and for aviation.
“Scale of the current industry crisis is much worse and far more widespread than 9/11, SARS or the 2008 global financial crisis. Airlines are fighting for survival. Many routes have been suspended in Africa and Middle East and airlines have seen demand fall by as much as 60 per cent on remaining ones.
“Millions of jobs are at stake. Airlines need urgent government action if they are to emerge from this in a fit state to help the world recover, once COVID-19 is beaten.”
Extensive cost-cutting measures, he said, are being implemented by the region’s carriers to mitigate the financial impact of COVID-19.
Juniac stated, however, that due to flight bans as well as international and regional travel restrictions, airlines’ revenues were plummeting—outstripping the scope of even the most drastic cost containment measures.
He added that with average cash reserves of approximately two months in the region, airlines were facing liquidity and existential crisis, necessitating urgent support measures.
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