Urgent government intervention is needed to prevent a Covid “employment catastrophe” in the aviation industry.
The call came in a joint statement from Iata and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).
They want governments to:
- Provide continued financial support for the aviation industry
- Safely re-open borders without quarantine by implementing a globally harmonised system of pre-departure Covid-19 testing.
They cited Air Transport Action Group estimates suggesting some 4.8 million aviation workers’ jobs are at risk as a result of air travel demand falling by more than 75% in August over the same month last year.
The joint statement said: “The ability and speed that countries recover from Covid-19, is closely linked to the recovery of global air connectivity.
“Government intervention and investment therefore must not just provide support for the air transport industry now but also to ensure that it is fit for purpose and able to support the world’s return to normality from the pandemic.”
In addition to re-opening borders with testing and financial support, the organisations also called for governments to develop a roadmap for long-term industry recovery including investment in workforce retraining and upskilling, and in green technologies, especially sustainable aviation fuels.
Iata director general and chief executive Alexandre de Juniac warned: “Aviation faces an unprecedented employment catastrophe.
“Airlines have cut costs to the bone, but have just 8.5 months of cash left under current conditions.
“Tens of thousands of jobs have already been lost, and unless governments provide more financial relief, these are likely to increase to the hundreds of thousands.
“Aviation plays an essential role connecting nations and carrying essential cargo, and it is in governments’ own interests to offer further financial aid to keep the industry viable.
“But more importantly, governments need to work together to safely re-open borders. That means putting in place a global scheme for testing passengers for Covid-19.
With that in place, quarantine can be removed and passengers can have the confidence to fly again.”
ITF general secretary Stephen Cotton added: “The global aviation industry is in a state of prolonged crisis. By the end of the year, almost 80% of wage replacement schemes will run out, without urgent intervention from governments we will witness the biggest jobs crisis the industry has ever seen.
“But the catastrophic jobs crisis can be avoided with a clear a co-ordinated strategy built on relief, recovery and reform.
“The world’s aviation workers are calling on governments to act now, deliver the financial support that will protect their jobs and to commit to working with trade unions and employers to support the industry’s long-term recovery.
“The aviation workforce is a skilled workforce that has been, and will continue to be, vital to nations’ Covid response and recovery.
“If governments fail to act and support aviation, not only will they hurt the industry, the impacts will be hard felt by society at large.”
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