Kuala Lumpur [Malaysia], Mar 19 (ANI): Asian airlines are facing revenue shortfalls of over 60 billion dollars this year as a result of sharp falls in demand which have already forced grounding of over half the fleet, the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) said on Thursday.
By the same token, many of the one million workers are unable to work because of drastic reductions in operations due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Many are facing the threat of a loss of their livelihoods, the AAPA said in a statement as air travel virtually grounds to a halt as a result of travel bans, border closures, lockdowns, quarantine and isolation orders imposed by governments.
The sharp reductions in passenger services have also drastically reduced available air cargo capacity affecting critical supply chains, including getting food and medical supplies to affected communities worldwide.
Asian airlines are continuing to operate dedicated freighter services but need help in streamlining operations, scheduling and crew clearances to keep critical goods moving as a lifeline, said AAPA.
"We believe it is time to consider holistic global measures to pave the way for the aviation industry to survive this crisis. Such a global approach is necessary to manage the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic," it said.
AAPA urged all governments to take immediate action to address the societal impact of the world's worst public health crisis in a century.
The association called for suspension of payroll taxes, deferment or reduction in income taxes, extension of payment terms, waiver of ticket taxes and other government levies, taxes, dues and charges for 2020.
It also called for direct financial support for reduced revenues and liquidity support due to travel restrictions. AAPA urged governments to extend interest-free loans or loan guarantees and support corporate bond markets either directly or to commercial banks to extend credit for affected companies.
It also called for direct financial support for individuals facing the loss of livelihoods.
"Governments across the globe are only now beginning to appreciate the enormity of the challenge and the need for immediate action to provide critical support to those affected," said AAPA.
Asia Pacific airlines are fully committed to working with governments and the industry to maintain global connectivity and smooth operations despite the very challenging operating environment, it added.