In light of the sharp decline in the level of demand for air travel flights after the outbreak of the emerging Corona virus (Covid-19) around the world. </p><div><p><strong>The International Air Transport Association (IATA) appealed to governments in the Africa and Middle East region to provide urgent support to airlines trying to continue their work in light of the sharp decline in the level of demand for air travel flights after the outbreak of the Corona virus emerging (Covid-19) around the world.</strong>
Commenting on this, Alexander de Juniak, Director-General and CEO of the International Air Transport Association, said: “Controlling the spread of the virus is a top priority for the world’s governments, but it must also understand the impact of public health emergencies on the global economy in general and the aviation sector in particular, as The sector is currently experiencing the worst crisis in the history of the sector compared to the events of September 11 or when an outbreak of SARS or the global financial crisis in 2008. ”
De Juniac added: “Today airlines are doing their best to continue their work, as demand for airline destinations in the region has fallen by 60% on major routes, and millions of jobs are at risk. So airlines need urgent action by governments to get out of this. The recession, as the Union estimates that emergency assistance to the sector amounts to $ 200 billion globally.
In turn, airlines in the region have taken extensive measures to reduce costs and mitigate the financial consequences associated with the outbreak, but due to the travel ban, along with international and regional travel restrictions, airlines are experiencing a significant decline in their revenue, bypassing basic cost containment measures. Given the average cash reserves over the past two months in the region, it can be said that airlines are facing a liquidity crisis that affects their continued existence.
Therefore, the International Air Transport Association offers a set of proposals that governments can take into account, namely:
- Provide direct financial support to airlines and air freight to compensate for the sharp drop in revenue and liquidity due to travel restrictions imposed against the backdrop of the Corona virus outbreak around the world.
- Providing loans, loan guarantees and support to the corporate bond market by governments or central banks: The corporate bond market is a primary source of financing, but governments must facilitate the conditions for issuing corporate bonds to obtain central bank support and ensure that they are used by a wider group of companies.
- Tax exemption: offering discounts on payroll tax paid to date in 2020 and / or extending payment terms for the rest of 2020, and a temporary exemption from ticket taxes and other fees imposed by the government.
For his part, Mohamed Bakri, Vice President of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in the Africa and the Middle East region, stated: “Several governments in the region have pledged to provide assistance to reduce the effects of the outbreak of the virus, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain. Egypt, Nigeria and Mauritius, and we ask governments, in these circumstances, to pay special attention to the air transport sector as one of the main pillars of modern economies.
Al-Bakri added: “This support by governments will contribute to the airline companies continuing their work in a manner that allows workers in them and the corresponding sectors to return to their jobs again after the end of this crisis, and it will have a major and important role in enabling global supply chains to continue their work, along with providing communication The world on which tourism and trade sectors depend, which in turn is considered one of the most important sectors that will contribute to stimulating economic growth quickly after the end of the virus crisis.
The economic contribution of the air transport sector in Africa is estimated at 55.8 billion dollars, as it supports 6.2 million jobs and contributes 2.6% of the GDP. While the economic contribution of the sector in the Middle East region is estimated at 130 billion dollars, supports 2.4 million jobs and contributes 4.4% of the GDP.