Aviation industry globally could lose $30 billion this year if the spread of coronavirus continues
The IATA said maintaining the status quo in the current climate was “inappropriate” and called for slots to be suspended for the entire season – until October 2020. Image: AFP/Getty Images
Rules governing airport slots should be suspended immediately for the rest of the 2020 season, due to the impact of the coronavirus, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Around 43 percent of all passengers depart from over 200 slot coordinated airports worldwide.
At present, the rules for slot allocation mean that airlines must operate at least 80 percent of their allocated slots under normal circumstances. Failure to comply means the airline loses its right to the slot the next equivalent season. In exceptional circumstances, regulators can relax this requirement.
A report from the IATA revealed an unnamed carrier currently experiencing a 26 percent reduction across its entire operation compared to last year; a hub carrier reporting bookings to Italy down 108 percent as bookings collapse to zero and refunds grow; and many carriers reporting 50 percent no-shows across several markets.
Regulators have already waived slot rules on a rolling basis for operations to China and Hong Kong. The IATA said maintaining the status quo in the current climate was “inappropriate” and called for slots to be suspended for the entire season – until October 2020.
“IATA research has shown that traffic has collapsed on key Asian routes and that this is rippling throughout the air transport network globally, even between countries without major outbreaks of COVID-19. There are precedents for previous suspension of the slot use rules and we believe the circumstances again calls for a suspension to be granted. We are calling for regulators worldwide to help the industry plan for today’s emergency, and the future recovery of the network, by suspending the slot use rules on a temporary basis,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.
“The world is facing a huge challenge to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while enabling the global economy to continue functioning. Airlines are on the front line of that challenge and it’s essential that the regulatory community work with us to ensure airlines are able to operate in the most sustainable manner, both economically and environmentally, to alleviate the worst impacts of the crisis,” he added.
According to the IATA, if the spread of the virus continues, the aviation industry globally can expect a $30 billion revenue loss and a 4.7 percent reduction in global air traffic for the year.
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