The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) in a joint statement issued on Tuesday stated that about 4.8 million aviation workers’ jobs are at risk due to poor air travel demand caused by the pandemic.
The associations called for urgent government intervention to prevent an employment catastrophe in the aviation industry.
Air travel demand has fallen drastically this year, with a drop of more than 75% in August 2020 as compared to August 2019, putting at risk close to 5 million jobs, as per estimates from the Air Transport Action Group.
In view of this, IATA and the ITF made the joint call to governments to provide continued financial support for the aviation industry and safely re-open borders without quarantine by implementing a globally harmonized system of pre-departure COVID-19 testing.
IATA added that the impact of COVID-19 related border restrictions and quarantine measures has effectively closed down the aviation industry, grounding planes and leaving infrastructure and aircraft manufacturing capacity idle.
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO said, “Aviation faces an unprecedented employment catastrophe. Airlines have cut costs to the bone, but have just 8.5 months of cash left under current conditions. Tens of thousands of jobs have already been lost, and unless governments provide more financial relief, these are likely to increase to the hundreds of thousands.”
He added that governments need to work together to safely re-open borders.
"That means putting in place a global scheme for testing passengers for COVID-19. With that in place, quarantine can be removed and passengers can have the confidence to fly again,” he added.
In addition to re-opening borders with testing and financial support, the organizations also called for governments to develop a roadmap for long-term industry recovery including investment in workforce retraining and upskilling, and in green technologies, especially sustainable aviation fuels. Given the job losses in the industry and the fact that the aviation sector has been one of the worst-hit sectors, government intervention for supporting the air transport industry is much needed for the recovery of global air connectivity.