Airlines, workers call for urgent government help to prevent 'jobs catastrophe'

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) have issued a joint statement calling for urgent government intervention to prevent a ‘jobs catastrophe’ in the aviation industry.

The two organisations also called for governments to draw up a long-term plan to help the industry recover, as well as to invest in talent retraining and upskilling, and in green technologies, especially sustainable aviation fuels.

The call comes after airlines continue to burn through cash as they attempt to stay in business despite massive declines in passenger numbers due to the health outbreak. Even after the coronavirus restrictions have eased, air travel demand as of August remains 75 percent lower compared to a year earlier.


With the persistent air travel crisis, estimates from the Air Transport Action Group suggest that some 4.8 million jobs could be at risk of being lost, while the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reiterated that carriers currently have only about 8.5 months of cash left.

IATA and ITF said governments should continue to provide financial support for the aviation industry, as well as safely re-open borders without quarantine by implementing a globally harmonised system of pre-departure COVID-19 testing.

“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,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.

Stephen Cotton, ITF’s general secretary, said that the global aviation industry is in a “state of prolonged crisis”, with nearly 80 percent of wage replacement schemes expected to run out by the end of the year in the absence of government assistance.

“We will witness the biggest job crisis the industry has ever seen. But the catastrophic job crisis can be avoided with a clear and coordinated strategy built on relief, recovery and reform,” he said.

“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… 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,” he added.




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