The current health crisis has pushed several airlines around the world into serious financial difficulties. This pushes the International Air Transport Association, IATA, to appeal to governments to open borders and maintain aid measures to support air carriers during this global Covid-19 pandemic.
The association of 290 airlines, providing 82% of global air traffic, spoke out by appealing to the authorities to lift current travel restrictions, open borders and relaunch their flight programs. IATA reports on the declining results for the month of July, which arose due to restrictions which prevented the high summer season from bringing an improvement in traffic.
Governments are trying to protect citizens, but according to the association, the measures currently taken: travel restrictions, quarantine, … “continue to eliminate the demand for air travel”, also believing that governments should not be isolate in this way to combat the pandemic and that measures must be quickly put in place to help economic and social recovery.
In addition to the ICAO measurements, the association offers a system of “travel bubbles” in order to reduce the risks of contamination. As part of this, it provides for the use of effective Covid-19 tests, as the technology develops.
An action plan is proposed by IATA, to allow the reopening of borders. Thus, the first point talks about the orientations of the ICAO “Ready for take-off” document which will be implemented, in the second position the development of joint work between the ICAO Council Task Force and the States in order to to coordinate the secure reopening of borders and to complete the application of COVID-19 screening measures, allowing the precision, speed and adaptability necessary to eliminate the risk of importing the virus.
Airlines have been grounded for almost half the year, making the situation even more difficult, and still continue to lose billions of dollars, and go without large numbers of employees. IATA calls on governments not to stop financial aid and other measures.
Thus, IATA asks governments to help air carriers financially, but also through regulations more suited to the current situation.
• Financial aid
Government assistance is essential during this crisis which has caused air carriers to lose more than 50% of revenues. These measures intervene to avoid indebtedness or any possible bankruptcy.
• Regulation flexibility
IATA is calling on governments to relax the regulation starting with the exemption from the 80-20 rule on airport slots. This will allow airlines to adjust their schedules according to demand, without risking a penalty for non-use of allocated slots.
The exemption has been granted by many countries, notably China, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, … for the winter season 2020. This has not yet been undertaken by the European Commission (EC) , which believes that traffic would be restored in a proportion of 75% to 85% in the winter season, and which must also present clarifications to airlines which have been asking for an exemption for weeks.