MUMBAI: About 4.8 million aviation workers’ jobs are at risk due to poor air travel demand caused by the pandemic and urgent government intervention is needed to prevent an employment catastrophe in the aviation industry, said global airlines’ travel body, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) in a joint statement issued on Tuesday.
Air travel demand has plummeted this year, with a drop of more than 75% in August 2020 as compared to August 2019, putting at risk close to 5 million jobs, according to estimates from the Air Transport Action Group.
In view of this, IATA and the ITF made the joint call to governments to provide continued financial support for the aviation industry and safely re-open borders without quarantine by implementing a globally harmonized system of pre-departure Covid-19 testing.
“The impact of Covid-19 related border restrictions and quarantine measures has effectively closed down the aviation industry, grounding planes and leaving infrastructure and aircraft manufacturing capacity idle,” said IATA.
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO said: “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.” He added that 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,” he added.
Stephen Cotton, ITF’s General Secretary said: “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 coordinated strategy built on relief, recovery and reform. 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.”
In addition to re-opening borders with testing and financial support, the organizations 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.
“The ability and speed that countries recover from Covid-19, is closely linked to the recovery of global air connectivity,” said the joint statement. “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.”
Source From : Times Of India