IATA is appealing to governments in Africa and the Middle East to provide emergency support to airlines during the evaporation of air travel demand resulting from the COVID-19 crisis.

The appeal is part of a worldwide campaign to support airlines as they fight to survive in the face of plummeting revenues. On a global basis, IATA estimates that emergency aid of up to $200 billion is required.

“The scale of the current industry crisis is much worse and far more widespread than 9/11, SARS or the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. Airlines are fighting for survival,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. 

“Many routes have been suspended in Africa and the Middle East, and airlines have seen demand fall by as much as 60% on remaining ones. Millions of jobs are at stake.

“Airlines need urgent government action if they are to emerge from this in a fit state to help the world recover, once COVID-19 is beaten,” said de Juniac said.

Options proposed by IATA for governments to consider include direct financial support, loans, loan guarantees, support for the corporate bond market by governments or central banks and tax relief.

“Several governments in Africa and the Middle East have already committed national aid for COVID-19 including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Egypt, Nigeria and Mauritius,” said Muhammed Al Bakri, IATA Regional Vice President Africa, Middle East.

Such contributions, Al Bakri said, will help keep the airlines alive and ensure that both airline staff and people working in allied sectors have “jobs to return to at the end of the crisis.”


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