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Iata urges governments to extend financial support to help airlines deal with Covid-19 impact

October 14, 2020

Airlines will not make it through winter without a second tranche of financial aid, Iata director general says

The International Air Transport Association (Iata) has renewed calls for governments to extend financial support to airlines to help them overcome the coronavirus-induced crisis.

“Airlines continue to burn through cash and it is expected to persist into next year. Without a second tranche of financial aid, many airlines will not make it through the winter,” Alexandre de Juniac, Iata director general and chief executive, said in an online media conference on Tuesday.

The calls for increased support came as global airlines continue to suffer due to travel restrictions imposed by the governments to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Iata estimates that airline revenues will halve to $419 billion in 2020 due to the crisis.

“The Covid-19 pandemic remains an existential crisis and airports, airlines and their commercial partners need direct and swift financial assistance to protect essential operations and jobs,” Airports Council International (ACI) World director general Luis Felipe de Oliveira said.

The two aviation bodies also renewed calls, urging governments to introduce widespread and coordinated testing of passengers to help the aviation industry recover.

“ACI and Iata are aligned in calling for urgent government action to introduce widespread and coordinated testing of passengers to enable quarantine requirements to be removed. Without this action, it is not an exaggeration that the industry is facing collapse,” Mr de Oliveira said.

The costs related to public health measures aimed at mitigating the spread of communicable diseases, including the introduction of a coordinated approach to testing, should be borne by national governments, the two aviation bodies, said.

Last month, Iata cut its forecast for this year's traffic growth to an average decline of 66 per cent year-on-year, from a previous estimate of 63 per cent due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions.

Many airlines have either furloughed their workers or cut jobs to deal with the pandemic. Some have received billions in state aid but are increasingly facing operational challenges due to a weak travel outlook amid the coronavirus pandemic.