About 25 million jobs are at risk of disappearing due to falling demand for air travel amid the Covid-19 crisis, according to analysis from The International Air Transport Association (IATA).

According to IATA’s figures, “the livelihoods of some 65.5 million people are dependent on the aviation industry, including sectors such as travel and tourism”. Among these are 2.7 million airlines jobs.

Governments around the world have closed their borders and imposed other travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which has now infected more than one million people worldwide.

IATA said according to its calculations, 25 million jobs in aviation and related sectors are “endangered across the world” if travel restrictions and lower travel traffic persist for another three months. It added that the figure “is not a forecast for layoffs”.

The global aviation association posted the following job loss figures for each region:

  • 11.2 million jobs in Asia-Pacific
  • 5.6 million jobs in Europe
  • 2.9 million jobs in Latin America
  • 2.0 million jobs in North America
  • 2.0 million jobs in Africa
  • 0.9 million jobs in the Middle East

IATA added that airlines are expected to see full year passenger revenues fall by $252 billion in 2020. This is a 44 per cent drop compared to 2019.

The second quarter is “the most critical ” with demand projected  to fall 70 per cent at its worst point, and airlines will burn through $61 billion in cash, IATA projects.

IATA is urging governments around the world to “provide immediate financial aid to help airlines to remain viable businesses able to lead the recovery when the pandemic is contained”.

“There are no words to adequately describe the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the airline industry. And the economic pain will be shared by 25 million people who work in jobs dependent upon airlines. Airlines must be viable businesses so that they can lead the recovery when the pandemic is contained. A lifeline to the airlines now is critical,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.

The association is asking governments to provide direct financial support, loans, loan guarantees, support for the corporate bond market, and tax relief.

A number of governments worldwide have have provided support to the airline industry in the wake of the coronavirus crisis as airlines around the world continue to cut capacity in an effort to reduce costs in response to the surge in coronavirus cases worldwide, which has led to a drop in demand for air travel.

This includes Australia which announced an A$715 million (US$430 million) aid package; Singapore which has undertaken relief measures valued at S$112 million (US$82 million); Hong Kong, whose airport authority, with government support, is providing a total relief package valued at HK$1.6 billion (US$206 million); and others.