Geneva: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released a new analysis showing that some 25 million jobs are at risk of disappearing with plummeting demand for air travel amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Globally, the livelihoods of some 65.5 million people are dependent on the aviation industry, including sectors such as travel and tourism. Among these are 2.7 million airline jobs.
In a scenario of severe travel restrictions lasting for three months, IATA research calculates that 25 million jobs in aviation and related sectors are endangered across the world: 11.2 million jobs in the Asia Pacific, 5.6 million jobs in Europe, 2.9 million jobs in Latin America, 2 million jobs in North America, 2 million jobs in Africa and 0.9 million jobs in the Middle East.
In the same scenario, airlines are expected to see full-year passenger revenues fall by 252 billion dollars (minus 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 61 billion dollars in cash.
Airlines are calling on governments to provide immediate financial aid to help airlines to remain viable businesses able to lead the recovery when the pandemic is contained. Specifically, IATA calls for direct financial support, loans, 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 the economic pain will be shared by 25 million people who work in jobs dependent upon airlines," said IATA's Director General and CEO 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 licenses and certifications that have expired," said de Juniac.
"These are just some of the major tasks that are ahead of us. And to be successful, industry and government must be aligned and working together," said de Juniac.