Airports Council International (ACI) World and the International Air Transport Association (Iata) have reiterated an urgent call for governments to use Covid-19 testing as a means of safely reopening borders and re-establishing global connectivity.
The call comes amid growing concern that it’s imperative to prevent the systemic collapse of the aviation industry through non-debt-generating financial support.
The dual measures by ACI and Iata would protect countries from the importation of coronavirus cases, avert an employment crisis in the travel and tourism sector, and ensure that the critical aviation structure remains viable and able to support the economic and social benefits on which the world relies.
The Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) estimates that 46 million jobs are at risk because of the loss of connectivity caused by the pandemic.
The vast majority of these (41.2 million jobs) are in the travel and tourism sector which relies on aviation. The remainder (4.8 million jobs) are spread across direct employment in aviation, including airports and airlines.
The viability of the airline sector to support employment is being challenged by the severe and prolonged fall in business:
· ACI estimates the airport industry will suffer a -60% reduction in revenues, reaching an unprecedented -$104.5 billion.
· Iata estimates that airline revenues will be down at least 50% ($419 billion compared to $838 billion in 2019).
Safely reopening borders without quarantine by using a coordinated approach to testing would boost the entire economy and be a revenue lifeline for airlines and airports. The organisations have called on the Icao Council Aviation Recovery Task Force to provide an internationally agreed and recognised approach to testing that can be adopted at a national level.
Governments are also urged to address the devastating impact of border closures and other government-imposed travel restrictions by supporting aviation’s viability through direct financial assistance in the form of financial support that:
· protects jobs and operations
· does not increase debt levels, and
· minimises default on debt and credit losses.