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UK to see 140 million fewer airline passengers this year, says IATA

24 Apr 2020 by Mark Caswell
British Airways B747 at Heathrow airport

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has published new analysis of the potential revenue and traffic loss to the European aviation industry this year, as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

IATA now forecasts that European carriers will suffer losses in revenue totalling $89 billion in 2020, with the UK accounting for $26.1 billion of this.

The analysis follows this week’s warning from IATA’s CEO Alexandre de Juniac that the introduction of social distancing on aircraft will mean that the end of cheap travel.

IATA Chief: “Cheap travel is over”

The association said that passenger demand is projected to be 55 per cent down on 2019 levels, with the UK seeing 140 million fewer passengers in 2020.

IATA said this would risk almost 661,200 jobs in the UK, and around $50.3 billion in contribution to the UK economy. The forecasted impact for five of Europe’s largest economies can be seen below.

Across Europe as a whole, the 90 per cent collapse in air traffic puts around 6.7 million jobs at risk and could lead to a negative GDP impact of $452 billion, the association said.

The analysis is based on a scenario of “severe travel restrictions lasting for three months, with a gradual lifting of restrictions in domestic markets, followed by regional and intercontinental travel”.

“Every job created in the aviation industry supports another 24 jobs in the wider economy,” said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Europe .

“Unfortunately, that means that when aviation jobs disappear, the impact is magnified across the economy. Our latest impact assessment shows that the number of jobs at risk has increased to 6.7 million across Europe. As airlines face an unprecedented liquidity crisis, we desperately need European government financial and regulatory support.”

IATA called for a temporary amendment to EU261 “to give greater flexibility on the terms of repayments for cancelled flights”, and said that “While airlines fight for survival, the industry is looking to plan for a restart of air connectivity once restrictions begin to be lifted”, with identified measures including:

  • Confidence-building measures to encourage a return to travel. This will mean governments providing economic stimulus, and coordinated measures to ensure that travel is safe
  • Governments should lean on the industry’s operational expertise to ensure efficient results
  • Global standards with mutual recognition will be essential for successful implementation
  • Any temporary measures introduced by governments should be exercised with a clear exit strategy

iata.org

IATA’s forecasted impact of the crisis for Europe’s largest economies

  • United Kingdom 140 million fewer passengers resulting in a $26.1bn revenue loss, risking almost 661,200 jobs and around $50.3bn in contribution to the UK economy.
  • Spain 114 million fewer passengers resulting in a $15.5bn revenue loss, risking 901,300 jobs and $59.4bn in contribution to Spain’s economy.
  • Germany 103 million fewer passengers resulting in a $17.9bn revenue loss, risking 483,600 jobs and $34bn in contribution to Germany’s economy.
  • Italy 83 million fewer passengers resulting in a $11.5bn revenue loss, risking 310,400 jobs and $21.1bn in contribution to Italy’s economy.
  • France 80 million fewer passengers resulting in a $14.3bn revenue loss, risking 392,500 jobs and $35.2bn in contribution to France’s economy.
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