The travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak have been severe. With passenger demand plummeting to unprecedented levels, revenues are falling beyond the mitigation ability of even the most extreme cost-cutting measures.
Airports and airlines face a financial liquidity crisis. And this risks the loss of millions of jobs. The aviation industry supports 65.5 million jobs around the world and supports $2.7 trillion in world economic activity. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, airports and airlines around the world are engaged in a battle to sustain essential operations and to preserve jobs.
ACI and IATA are calling for urgent balanced support to the industry via:
- taxation relief, including alleviation of payroll taxes, corporate taxes, concession fees or other government incomes from the industry
- loans, loan guarantees or direct support to maintain financial liquidity across the aviation ecosystem.
Some governments have recognized the urgency of action, but others have not. The whole industry, including ground handlers and other service providers at airports, must be viable to support a balanced recovery.
“The financial impact of the current crisis is unlike anything we have ever seen and requires urgent action by governments to assist the aviation industry to protect jobs, ensure essential operations, and plan for recovery,” said ACI World Director General Angela Gittens. “Urgent tax relief and direct financial assistance that is to the benefit of the entire aviation ecosystem is needed to help preserve millions of jobs, protect essential operations, and foster a balanced recovery. Preserving the continuity of operations for airports and airlines and protecting aviation jobs today will result in a faster economic recovery tomorrow.”
IATA’s Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said the situation could not be more dire. “Governments will depend on aviation to be ready to lead an economic recovery when this pandemic is behind us,” he said. “Governments must act now with financial lifelines that only they can provide for airlines and airports to see them through these extraordinary times. Airlines and airports are in this together. The more financially stable our airport partners are, the more they can help the industry to drive a recovery in air travel that will jump start the global economy.”