The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Wednesday unveiled an analysis showing that the airline industry cannot slash costs sufficiently to neutralise severe cash burn to avoid bankruptcies and preserve jobs in 2021.
IATA, therefore, reiterated its call for government relief measures to sustain airlines financially and avoid massive employment terminations.
IATA also called for pre-flight COVID-19 testing to open borders and enable travel without quarantine.
According to the association representing some 290 airlines carrying 82 percent of global traffic, total industry revenues in 2021 are expected to be down 46% compared to the 2019 figure of $838 billion.
The previous analysis was for 2021 revenues to be down around 29% compared to 2019. This was based on expectations for a demand recovery commencing in the fourth quarter of 2020.
It however noted that recovery delayed owing to new COVID-19 outbreaks, and government mandated travel restrictions including border closings and quarantine measures.
IATA expects full year 2020 traffic to be down 66% compared to 2019, with December demand down 68%.
IATA’s Director-General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, said, “The fourth quarter of 2020 will be extremely difficult and there is little indication the first half of 2021 will be significantly better, so long as borders remain closed and/or arrival quarantines remain in place.
“Unless governments act fast, some 1.3 million airline jobs are at risk. And that would have a domino effect putting 3.5 million additional jobs in the aviation sector in jeopardy along with a total of 46 million people in the broader economy whose jobs are supported by aviation.”