In order to mitigate the financial impact of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) has welcomed changes by aviation authorities to provide airlines with more flexible administrative provisions, while also encouraging other regions – including Africa – to follow suit.
Gilberto Lopez Meyer, Iata senior vice president of safety and flight operations, said that although safety remained the industry’s main priority, the airlines had come under severe financial pressure as they tried to work around the Covid-19 outbreak.
“In this extraordinarily difficult environment, we are grateful for actions to ease regulatory requirements that do not impact the safety of flights,” said Meyer.
“The actions taken by these regulators will provide airlines and licensed crew with the necessary flexibility for licence extensions without compromising safety. We urge others to quickly follow suit and grant similar short-term relief.”
The majority of the world’s leading aviation regulators have agreed to new provisions that will help the air industry. However, according to Iata, some regions - including Africa - have yet to declare the commitment.
Alexandre de Juniac, Iata director general, said airlines across the world were in the midst of an existential crisis, and unless they started acting now the coronavirus outbreak could have a long-lasting impact on the economic prosperity of the industry.
“Iata is urging governments and regulators to be more flexible on administrative provisions, to waive or reduce taxes and other statutory charges levied on airlines and to provide other measures of financial relief,” said de Juniac.
“For example, through loan guarantees and support to the bond market to enable airlines to extend their lines of credit and by supporting the bond markets to enable airlines to raise funds through those instruments.”
Of the provisions made, most regulators have agreed to extend the validity period of licences, ratings and certificates of pilots and cabin crew. - Bjorn Vorster