Groups warn of potential 4.8 million lost jobs in aviation due to COVID-19 related border restrictions and quarantine measures
They urge continued financial support for aviation industry
They want safe reopening of borders without quarantine but with pre-departure COVID-19 testing
Airlines have cut costs to the bone, and have just 8.5 months of cash left
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) called for urgent government intervention to prevent an unprecedented jobs crisis in the aviation industry.
In a joint statement, the two groups said estimates from the Air Transport Action Group suggest some 4.8 million aviation workers’ jobs are at risk as a result of air travel demand falling. In August 2020, demand fell more than 75% compared to August 2019, they said.
“The impact of COVID-19 related border restrictions and quarantine measures has effectively closed down the aviation industry, grounding planes and leaving infrastructure and aircraft manufacturing capacity idle,” the statement lamented.
The IATA and the ITF issued a request for governments to:
- Provide continued financial support for the aviation industry
- Safely reopen borders without quarantine by implementing a globally harmonized system of pre-departure COVID-19 testing
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, said, “Aviation plays an essential role connecting nations and carrying essential cargo, and it is in governments’ own interests to offer further financial aid to keep the industry viable.”
He urged governments to work together to safely reopen borders. “That means putting in place a global scheme for testing passengers for COVID-19. With that in place, quarantine can be removed and passengers can have the confidence to fly again.”
He said aviation faces “an unprecedented employment catastrophe” as the industry continues to be in a state of prolonged crisis. He mentioned these figures:
- Airlines have cut costs to the bone, but have just 8.5 months of cash left under current conditions
- Tens of thousands of jobs have already been lost, and unless governments provide more financial relief, these are likely to increase to the hundreds of thousands
- By the end of the year, almost 80% of wage replacement schemes will run out
“Without urgent intervention from governments we will witness the biggest jobs crisis the industry has ever seen,” said Stephen Cotton, ITF’s general secretary. “If governments fail to act and support aviation, not only will they hurt the industry, the impacts will be hard felt by society at large.”
The organizations also called for governments to develop a roadmap for long-term industry recovery including investment in workforce retraining and upskilling, and in green technologies, especially sustainable aviation fuels.