aviation industry

Airline body IATA says borders may not fully reopen until October 2021

Airline body IATA says borders may not fully reopen until October 2021

Emirates aircraft are seen on the tarmac in a general view of Dubai International Airport in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, January 13, 2021. REUTERS/Abdel Hadi Ramahi/File Photo

The International Air Transport Association urges governments to provide more stimulus measures for airlines badly hit by the coronavirus crisis

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on governments to provide alternative forms of support and stimulus for the aviation sector as it warned that borders may not fully open until October.

The deepening nature of the crisis for airlines was highlighted by IATA’s plans to delay its annual meeting from June to October because it does not expect borders to have properly reopened to allow such a gathering by late June.

Many European airlines have said they need a summer holiday season if they are to survive after almost a year of COVID-19 restrictions which have stopped travel.

IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac said that governments had already provided $225 billion to help airlines, through direct aid, wage subsidies, tax relief, and loans, but warned more was needed.

“I urge governments to consider stimulus measures,” he told reporters on Wednesday, March 17.

De Juniac said airlines did not need more debt and said that one way for government to provide support would be to subsidize tickets to help the sector.

But any government subsidies for airlines would likely spark a negative reaction from environmentalists. Aviation accounts for 2% of global carbon emissions and campaigners are calling for the reduction in flying due to COVID-19 to be permanent.

“The new normal is going to mean less flying, especially corporate travel, and the industry must adjust,” said Andrew Murphy from Brussels-based green campaign group Transport & Environment.

“Public funds should be channeled into developing cleaner fuels and new plane designs, not subsidizing what’s still the most carbon-intensive form of travel.”

De Juniac said that by October, he expected borders to have reopened allowing the annual industry gathering to take place in Boston. He also said that the EU’s proposal on a bloc-wide “green digital certificate” to allow travel was positive. – Rappler.com