IATA: “For airlines, it’s apocalypse now”

By Andy Hoskins, published 27/03/20

The International Air Transport Association has thanked governments around the world for providing airlines with financial support but urged other governments to “follow suit before more damage is done”.

The International Air Transport Association has thanked governments around the world for providing airlines with financial support but urged other governments to “follow suit before more damage is done”.

IATA has also revised the figure it believes annual passengers revenues will fall by to $252billion if travel restrictions remain in place for three months.

The figure is more than double what it had previously estimated and represents a 44% decline.

“Airlines are fighting for survival in every corner of the world,” says Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

“Travel restrictions and evaporating demand mean that, aside from cargo, there is almost no passenger business. For airlines, it’s apocalypse now.

“There is a small and shrinking window for governments to provide a lifeline of financial support to prevent a liquidity crisis from shuttering the industry.”

De Juniac said IATA is “100% behind governments in supporting measures to slow the spread of COVID-19” but called for help for airlines.

“Without urgent relief, many airlines will not be around to lead the recovery stage.”

IATA cited a number of positive support measures, including a US$430million aid package from the Australian government comprising refunds and forward waivers on fuel taxes, and state loan guarantees for the aviation industry’s in Norway, Denmark and Sweden.

“This shows that states around the globe recognise the critical role that aviation plays in the modern world,” de Juniac continues.

“But many others have still to act to preserve the important role of this sector. Airlines are an economic and employment engine.

“This is demonstrated even as passenger operations shrink, as airlines continue to deliver cargo that is keeping the economy going and getting relief supplies where they are needed most.

“The ability for airlines to be a catalyst for economic activity will be vital in repairing the economic and social damage that COVID-19 is now causing.”