According to IATA, the impact of the coronavirus on the UAE’s aviation sector could lead to a loss of $17.7bn in economic contribution
Air carriers in the Middle East may lose as much as $19 billion as a result of the coronavirus pandemic – representing a revenue drop of 32 percent compared to 2019 – making the need for government action and financial relief ‘urgent’, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
According to IATA, the impact of the coronavirus in the UAE could lead to 23.8 million fewer passengers for the country’s airlines, resulting in $5.36 billion in lost revenue, risking 287,863 jobs and $17.7 billion in contribution to the UAE’s economy.
In neighboring Saudi Arabia, Covid-19 may lead to 26.7 million fewer passengers, resulting in $5.61 billion in revenue loss, risking 217,570 jobs and $13.6 billion in contribution to Saudi Arabia’s economy.
To minimize these losses, IATA believes it is “vital” that governments step in to provide relief, as the UAE has already vowed to.
IATA is specifically calling for direct financial support, loans, loan guarantees and support for the corporate bond market, as well as tax relief.
“The air transport industry is an economic engine, supporting up to 8.6 million jobs across Africa and the Middle East and $186 billion in GDP. Every job created in the aviation industry supports another 24 jobs in the wider economy,” said Muhammad Al Bakri, IATA’s regional vice president for Africa and the Middle East.
“Governments must recognize the vital importance of the air transport industry, and that support is urgently needed. Airlines are fighting for survival in every corner of the world,” he added.
IATA is calling for a relief package of measures to ensure air cargo operations, financial relief on airport and air traffic control charges and taxes, and ensuring the rapid and accurate publishing of aeronautical information to help airlines.
In a statement, Al Bakri praised the UAE and Saudi Arabia – among a number of other countries – for agreeing a full-season waiver to the slot use rule.
“But there is more to do on the regulatory front. Governments need to recognize that we are in a crisis,” he added.
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