PARIS: Airline revenues this year will plunge by 60 per cent as a result of the coronavirus pandemic which threatens the survival of the industry, the International Air Transport Association said on Tuesday.

“The Covid-19 crisis threatens the survival of the air transport industry,” with 2020 likely to go down in history as its worst year ever, IATA said.

It said that while airlines have been slashing costs by $1 billion a day, grounding fleets and cutting jobs, they are still racking up huge and “unprecedented” losses.

Compared with 2019, this year’s revenues are now expected at around $328 billion, IATA, which groups 290 airlines, said at its annual congress in Paris.

Pandemic threatens survival of industry

The industry will likely chalk up net losses of $118.5 billion, much worse than its June forecast for a loss of $84.3 billion, IATA added.

Next year the situation will improve but will still see airlines hit with a combined loss of $38.7 billion, also worse than its previous estimate of $15.8 billion.

“This crisis is devastating and implacable,” IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac said in a statement.

“Borders must reopen without quarantine measures so that passengers can take the plane again,” de Juniac said.

“The companies will have to continue to draw on their reserves until at least the fourth quarter of 2021,” he added.

IATA has been pressing governments for months to introduce virus testing before departure to do away with the need for normally 14-day quarantine periods on arrival, saying the change would allow airlines to get back to business without compromising safety.

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2020

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