IATA Forecasts Staggering Job Losses

In a new analysis, IATA says that 25 million jobs could disappear as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The airline industry association points out that 65.5 million people are dependent on aviation for their livelihoods, with 2.7 million of those jobs being directly with airlines.

In a scenario in which severe travel restrictions lasting for three months, IATA’s research calculated that 25 million jobs in aviation and related sectors are endangered across the world:

  • 11.2 million jobs in Asia-Pacific
  • 5.6 million jobs in Europe
  • 2.9 million jobs in Latin America
  • 2.0 million jobs in North America
  • 2.0 million jobs in Africa
  • 0.9 million jobs in the Middle East

In the same scenario, airlines are expected to see full year passenger revenues fall by $252 billion (a drop of 44%) in 2020 compared to 2019. The second quarter is the most critical with demand falling 70% at its worst point, and airlines burning through $61 billion in cash.

To remain viable businesses and to help lead the recovery when the pandemic is contained, airlines are calling for:

  • Direct financial support
  • Loans, loan guarantees and support for the corporate bond market
  • Tax relief

Said IATA’s director general and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac: “There are no words to adequately describe the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the airline industry. And the economic pain will be shared by 25 million people who work in jobs dependent upon airlines. Airlines must be viable businesses so that they can lead the recovery when the pandemic is contained. A lifeline to the airlines now is critical.”

IATA also said that careful planning and coordination will be needed to make sure that airlines are prepared when the pandemic is contained.

Said de Juniac: “We have never shuttered the industry on this scale before. Consequently, we have no experience in starting it up. It will be complicated.”

He continued: “To be successful, industry and government must be aligned and working together.”

But de Juniac also observed: “We are not expecting to re-start the same industry that we closed a few weeks ago. Airlines will still connect the world. And we will do that through a variety of business models. But the industry processes will need to adapt.”

And he concluded: “We must get on with this work quickly … The 25 million people whose jobs are at risk by this crisis will depend on an efficient re-start of the industry.”

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