10 June 2020 (Prague) – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on the Government of the Czech Republic to help air travel recover from the COVID-19 crisis by urgently providing financial relief to its aviation industry.
IATA estimates that as a result of the collapse in air traffic due to COVID-19, revenues generated by airlines in the Czech market will fall by $1.2 billion in 2020 and passenger numbers by 54% compared to 2019. That puts at risk nearly 30,000 Czech jobs and $1.1 billion of the Czech Republic’s GDP generated by aviation.
“The Czech Republic’s economy needs strong air connectivity and a healthy aviation sector to provide essential support for jobs and prosperity. The government has taken some steps to help airlines, but we urgently need more aid. 30,000 jobs are at risk if airlines collapse and the economic recovery is stalled through lack of adequate air links. Specific, targeted government financial relief can make all the difference at this crucial time,” said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Europe.
IATA’s latest forecast predicts that airlines in Europe will lose $21.5 billion in 2020, the worst year in aviation history. Airlines have taken emergency measures to preserve cash, but this will not be sufficient to prevent widespread job losses, cuts to routes, and the likely disappearance of some airlines. A number of governments have stepped in to provide financial relief measures to their airlines, including:
- The United States with $61 billion in relief to the aviation sector
- France with a financial aid package valued at EUR7 billion
- The Republic of Korea promising financial support for local Full-Service Carriers worth a total of KRW2.29 trillion (US$1.86 billion)
“This is the most dangerous moment for airlines in the Czech Republic. Cash flows and traffic are almost non-existent. The consequences for the economy are severe. Government support is needed now to ensure that the Czech Republic has a viable airline industry to lead the economic recovery,” said Schvartzman.
Measures to safeguard public health while traveling by air
IATA together with ACI Europe, the representative body for airports, has written to key government ministries across Europe to request that they cooperate to ensure a harmonized implementation of recommendations for restarting aviation while safeguarding public health issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The Czech Republic has implemented this guidance and is therefore leading the way in ensuring a safe and coordinated restart for air services.
“We gratefully acknowledge the Czech Republic’s leadership in adopting measures aligned with ICAO and EASA guidance, which strike the right balance of safeguarding public health and enabling viable air services, and we call on other governments to take similar action,” said Schvartzman.