COVID-19 impact worsening within Europe warns IATA

Athens International Airport ©AirTeamImages

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is urging governments to get together and lift border restrictions as well as finding alternatives to quarantine measures if further economic damage is to be avoided.

Despite a more recent increase in air traffic over the last months, helped by the reopening of borders between Schengen and non-Schengen EU states, overall volume is down 50% year on year and overall, for 2020, passenger numbers are expected to fall by 60% year on year. The threat of an anticipated second wave of the pandemic has led to further uncertainty and while passenger numbers are anticipated to recover, the return to pre-pandemic numbers may not occur until 2024.

In June it had been estimated that nearly six million aviation-supported jobs were at risk, that figure now has been revised upwards to seven million. “It is desperately worrying to see a further decline in prospects for air travel this year, and the knock-on impact for employment and prosperity. It shows once again the terrible effect that is being felt by families across Europe as border restrictions and quarantine continue. It is vital that governments and industry work together to create a harmonized plan for reopening borders,” said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Europe.

The air transport industry has been working closely with regulators, including the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to put protocols in place to ensure the safety of travelers and crew. As the current risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus on board remains at a low level, this is proof that airlines and airports are already successfully implementing appropriate measures.

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