Looming cash crisis could threaten up to 4.8 million aviation sector jobs

Alexandre de Juniac

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned that in the second half of 2020, airlines will burn through approximately US$77 billion in cash, while 2021 will see a likely continuance of a cash burn-through rate of between US$5 billion and US$6 billion per month.

The IATA is calling on governments worldwide to support the industry, but especially those in the northern hemisphere where the traditionally slower winter season looms. Whether in the form of tax relief including fuel taxes, corporate tax relief direct aid or wage subsidies, so far US$160 billion has been provided by governments across the globe.

“We are grateful for this support, which is aimed at ensuring that the air transport industry remains viable and ready to reconnect the economies and support millions of jobs in travel and tourism. But the crisis is deeper and longer than any of us could have imagined. And the initial support programs are running out. Today we must ring the alarm bell again. If these support programs are not replaced or extended, the consequences for an already hobbled industry will be dire,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. He also added that: “Increasing the cost of travel at this sensitive time will delay a return to travel and keep jobs at risk.”

According to the latest figures from the Air Transport Action Group, the severe downturn this year, combined with a slow recovery, threatens 4.8 million jobs across the entire aviation sector. Because each aviation job supports many more in the broader economy, the global impact is 46 million potential job losses and $1.8 trillion dollars of economic activity at risk.

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