Over 20 lakh jobs at risk in Indian aviation, dependent sectors: IATA

The IATA is expecting a revenue loss of US $314 billion and passenger demand to fall by 48 per cent compared to 2019

aviation industry, IATA, airlines, Lockdown, coronavirus, COVID-19
Each IndiGo's crew member will have to wear a surgical mask, gloves, face shields along with a gown or a body suit. Photo: iStock (represenative purpose only)

In the backdrop of all domestic and international air travel being banned until May 3, more than 20 lakh jobs will be at risk in India’s aviation space and dependent sectors, informed the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Wednesday (April 15).

Following an extension of the mandatory nationwide lockdown imposed in wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the IATA said that the airlines in the country are also not spared in the substantial economic disruptions.

Faced with challenging business conditions, some domestic airlines have resorted to leave without pay and layoff of expat pilots.

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The IATA said that airlines globally are now facing an existential crisis as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Related news: COVID-19 sounds May day for airlines, companies to lose ₹1,700 crore

“Airlines in India are not spared. Passenger revenue is expected to fall by more than US $8.8 billion and passenger demand decline by 36 per cent This puts over 2 million (over 20 lakh) jobs at risk, including sectors that are dependent on aviation,” Albert Tjoeng, Assistant Director for Corporate Communications (Asia Pacific) at IATA, said.

He told PTI that the priority for the Indian government is to ensure that airlines have sufficient cash flow to tide them over this period, by providing direct financial support, facilitating loans, loan guarantees, and support for the corporate bond market.

“Taxes, levies, and airport and aeronautical charges for the industry should also be fully or partially waived,” he added.

The IATA is a grouping of around 290 airlines, including Air India, Vistara, IndiGo and SpiceJet.

Globally, Albert Tjoeng said the IATA is expecting a revenue loss of US $314 billion and passenger demand to fall by 48 per cent compared to 2019.

Related news: COVID-19 lockdown: Two-third flights cancelled; 66% planes sit on tarmac

Airlines are facing a liquidity crisis, burning US $61 billion of their cash reserves in the second quarter of 2020, he added.

On Tuesday, IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said the industry’s outlook grows darker by the day.

“The scale of the crisis makes a sharp V-shaped recovery unlikely. Realistically, it will be a U-shaped recovery with domestic travel coming back faster than the international market. We could see more than half of passenger revenues disappear. That would be a US $314 billion hit,” he said.

He also said that airlines could burn through US $61 billion of cash reserves in the second quarter alone.

“That puts at risk 25 million jobs dependent on aviation. And without urgent relief, many airlines will not survive to lead the economic recovery,” he added.

(With inputs from agencies)

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