COVID-19: ITF, IATA call on government support to protect jobs, maintain services

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The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) called for support from governments to the aviation industry, to protect jobs and ensure that air services can be maintained during the COVID-19 pandemic. The economic situation facing the aviation industry is severe. Air passenger demand is down 80 percent. Airlines are facing a liquidity crisis which threatens the viability of 25 million jobs directly and indirectly dependent upon aviation, including jobs in the tourism and hospitality sectors.

Singapore Airlines, like others around the globe, have parked their planes as traffic remains grounded. (PHOTO: Shutterstock)

In a joint statement, ITF and IATA called for governments to:

  • Ensure that the protection of health workers caring for those with COVID-19 is prioritised.
  • Coordinate carefully between each other and with industry to ensure harmonised and effective action to protect the safety of passengers and crew.
  • Provide immediate financial and regulatory support for airlines, in order to maintain the sustainability of terms and conditions for air transport workers.
  • Assist the industry to restart quickly by adapting regulations and lifting travel restrictions in a predictable and efficient manner.
An empty departure hall of Suvarnabhumi Airport in Thailand due to COVID-19. (PHOTO: Shutterstock)

IATA and ITF also noted the aviation industry’s contribution to helping alleviate the COVID-19 crisis by keeping supply chains open, and repatriating citizens. Aviation professionals are also volunteering on the front line to assist medical services in the fight against COVID-19. The ITF is separately making 10 demands to help protect jobs in the sector.

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general. (PHOTO: IATA file)

“Airlines are facing the most critical period in the history of commercial aviation. Some governments have stepped in to help, and we thank them. But much, much more is needed. Direct financial support is essential to maintain jobs and ensure airlines can remain viable businesses. And when the world is ready to start travelling again, the global economy will need aviation at its best to help restore connectivity, tourism and global supply chains. That will require a harmonised approach with industry, workers and governments working together,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.

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