Disruption to Greece’s air transport sector caused by the Covid-19 outbreak is set to cost the country’s tourism sector an estimated 9.2 billion euros in losses, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Speaking on public broadcaster ERT this week, Raphael Schwartzman, IATA’s regional vice-president for Europe, said the coronavirus impact on Greek air transport may lead to the loss of up to 230,000 jobs in tourism, with potential damages reaching some 9.2 billion euros.
“According to forecasts, air traffic will be reduced by 52 percent, which translates into 26 million fewer travelers to Greece. About 230,000 jobs will be lost and the impact on the Greek economy will reach 9.2 billion euros,” Schwartzman warned.
Representing the world’s largest industry body, Schwartzman said IATA welcomed the European Commission’s recommendations towards the re-opening of borders and the re-launch of tourism. He did however add that the Commission’s guidance concerning passenger refunds for canceled trips due to Covid-19 was disappointing.
“On the one hand, we have a good plan for the restart of tourism. There is a good framework in place. But if we look at the proposal for passenger compensation, we are obviously not satisfied,” he said, underlining the unprecedented nature of the health crisis and suggesting a longer period for refunds through voucher plans.
Schwartzman went on to add that Europe stands to see more than 6.7 million job positions scrapped if the air transport sector fails to remain competitive.
Indicatively, according to Schwartzman, for every single job loss in aviation, 24 jobs in related industries are affected.
Last month, IATA forecast a 52 percent decline in the number of passengers to Greece this year, an overall 10.1-billion-dollar loss in tourism-related revenue, and 3.8 billion dollars in losses for Greek airlines, putting some 233,200 jobs at risk.
Overall in Europe, according to IATA, carriers are set to suffer 89 billion dollars in losses in 2020 and see passenger demand decline by 55 percent or 26 million passengers below 2019 levels.