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IATA Chief: Quick Coordinated Action Key to Airlines’ Recovery

Photo Source: @IATA

Firm coordinated plans must be in place when the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic subsides in order for airlines to cover lost ground and return to operations, said International Air Transport Association (IATA) Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac, this week.

De Juniac underlined the need to support and safeguard the sector, which has suffered a massive blow due to travel restrictions and country quarantines.

Challenges for the “next day” after Covid-19 include the industry’s physical re-start, which is “complicated”, according to de Juniac, given that licensed personnel need to be ready to go but licenses may have expired, airline safety audit dates may have passed, airworthiness certificates may no longer be valid, schedules may need to be coordinated, and aircraft will need maintenance work.

IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac

“We cannot leave the recovery of the sector to chance. We must have firm and coordinated plans in place so that airlines can re-start operations when governments and public health authorities give us the all clear. And we need to be able to scale-up operations as demand returns,” he said.

Another challenge will be adapting the industry to post-Covid-19 realities, which may include governments implementing severe measures such as national limits on international flights for fear of risk of reinfection. New measures, said de Juniac, will “surely involve passenger screening”.

In this direction, airline companies will have to work closely with governments and health authorities to understand what measures will be needed focusing in particular on travel restrictions.

Lastly, recovery work should also focus on stimulating markets.

To address the new realities, de Juniac said a variety of new business models will be have to implemented.

On a final note, IATA’s chief noted that some 25 million people stand to lose their jobs as a result of Covid-19, underlining why it is crucial to efficiently re-start the industry once the health crisis is over.

With worldwide demand down by 70 percent compared to last year and 90 percent in Europe, the impact of Covid-19 on the air transport industry may lead to a loss of some 61 billion dollars in cash reserves in the second quarter alone. At the same time, some 65.5 million jobs are linked to aviation.

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About the Author
Chicago-born and raised, Maria Paravantes has over two decades of journalistic experience covering tourism and travel, gastronomy, arts, music and culture, economy and finance, politics, health and social issues for international press and media. She has worked for Reuters, The Telegraph, Huffington Post, Billboard Magazine, Time Out Athens, the Athens News, Odyssey Magazine and, among others. She has also served as Special Advisor to Greece’s minister of Foreign Affairs, and to the mayor of Athens on international press and media issues. Maria is currently a reporter, content and features writer for GTP Headlines.

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