Montreal [Canada], May 1 (ANI): The Airports Council International (ACI) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have come together to call for governments to quickly grant financial relief to assist airport operators and airlines during the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis and support the essential connectivity the industry will provide for economic recovery.
The industry is united with governments around the world in efforts to stop the spread of the virus, they said in a joint statement.
"In the face of massive government imposed travel restrictions, the industry is doing all it can to maintain air cargo operations vital to supporting global supply chains, including medical shipments critical to fighting COVID-19."
The economic impact of these measures on all involved in the global air transport industry has been severe. With passenger demand plummeting to unprecedented levels, revenues are falling beyond the ability of even the most extreme cost-cutting measures to mitigate. "Airports and airlines continue to face a financial liquidity crisis," said ACI and IATA.
The current state of the global air transport industry risks the loss of millions of jobs. The aviation industry supports 65.5 million jobs around the world, including 10.5 million people employed at airports and by airlines, and supports 2.7 trillion dollars 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 called 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. They also called for loans, loan guarantees or direct support to maintain financial liquidity across the aviation ecosystem.
Some governments have recognised the urgency of action but time is running out for other governments to provide the necessary financial relief to keep the whole industry viable and ready to support a balanced recovery including ground handlers and other service providers at airports.
"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," he added.
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." (ANI)