‘Coordinated restart, financial aid to rescue airlines’
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), has again called for a coordinated restart across regions, and more financial support to help the airlines survive the COVID-19 era.
The body recently said the worst might not be over yet, hence, the imperative of more strategic support for the aviation industry and its recovery.
IATA’s new research showed that the impacts on the European aviation industry and on economies caused by the shutdown of air traffic due to the COVID-19 pandemic have worsened over the recent weeks.
According to the study, airlines in Europe are set to lose $21.5 billion in 2020, with passenger demand declining by over half. This puts at risk between 6-7 million jobs supported by aviation in Europe alone.
IATA said an accelerated recovery of air transport in Europe and other regions were vital if the worst of these impacts are to be avoided. This can be achieved through government action in two priority areas.
The first is a coordinated restart of air travel, with the opening up of borders, including the elimination of quarantine, and operating rules based on the health guidance set down by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), and at European level by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), and the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC).
Second, is a continued financial and regulatory support, particularly direct financial aid, an extension of the waiver to the 80-20 slot rule, and relief from taxes and charges.
IATA’s Regional Vice President for Europe, Rafael Schvartzman, said Europe’s economies had been brought to their knees by COVID-19, and the aviation industry has been especially hard-hit.
“Recent optimism over the opening of the Schengen borders should not obscure the critical seriousness of the situation. Across Europe, more than six million jobs in the airline industry and those businesses supported by aviation are at risk. Thousands of jobs have already been lost due to the shutdown of air traffic. For our future prosperity, it is imperative that the industry recovers as soon as possible.
“Quarantine measures are a huge impediment to a recovery in air traffic. Our latest passenger survey shows that 78 per cent of people in France, 76 per cent in Germany, and 83 per cent in the UK will not travel if quarantine is in place. Therefore, governments looking to reopen their economies need an alternative, risk-based solution. The answer is a strategy that combines coordinated, internationally-consistent health measures for air travel with effective national plans for managing COVID-19,” said Schvartzman.
The latest assessment from IATA Economics shows that the outlook at the national level has worsened for major aviation markets in Europe since April. For example, the passenger numbers, airline revenue, jobs at risk, and gross domestic product (GDP) impacts for the five biggest European markets have declined across every metric.