European airlines warned of ‘worse to come’

Airlines in Europe are set to lose over $23 billion in 2020 as passenger demand declines by more than a half
Juhasz Imre

The worst may yet be to come for European airlines, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned.

“Europe’s economies have been brought to their knees by Covid-19, and the aviation industry has been especially hard-hit,” said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s regional VP for Europe.  

“Recent optimism over the opening of the Schengen borders should not obscure the critical seriousness of the situation. Across Europe, more than six million jobs in the airline industry and those businesses supported by aviation are at risk.

“Thousands of jobs have already been lost due to the shutdown of air traffic. For our future prosperity it is imperative that the industry recovers as soon as possible.”

Airlines in Europe are set to lose $23.1 billion in 2020, with passenger demand declining by over half. This puts at risk between 6-7 million jobs supported by aviation in Europe alone.

An accelerated recovery of air transport in Europe is vital if the worst of these impacts is to be avoided. This can be achieved through government action in two priority areas, IATA said.

IATA wants a coordinated restart of air travel, with the opening up borders (including elimination of quarantine) and operating rules based on the health guidance set down by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and at European level by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC). 

It also wants continued financial and regulatory support, particularly direct financial aid, an extension of the waiver to the 80-20 slot rule, and relief from taxes and charges. 

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