The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is calling on the Canadian government to provide urgent financial relief to airlines as they struggle to survive the devastating impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
IATA estimates that revenues generated by airlines in the Canadian market will fall by C$14.6 billion (43.2 per cent). That nearly 250,000 Canadian jobs at risk and C$25.4 billion of Canada’s GDP, which is generated by aviation directly as well as by aviation-related tourism.
"Airlines are facing their darkest hour. Passenger traffic has virtually stopped, and cash flows are almost non-existent. The consequences for the Canadian economy are severe. Government support is needed now to ensure that Canada has a viable airline industry to lead the economic recovery," said Peter Cerdá, IATA's regional vice president for the Americas.
Government support is urgently required to ensure the liquidity which will allow airlines to survive the coming months and thus protect the jobs generated by the air transport sector.
‘’Airlines have taken emergency measures to preserve cash. But airlines are among the first and hardest hit. Globally, the industry could suffer a liquidity crisis of up to C$84.7 billion in the second quarter as demand plummets by 80 per cent or more,’’ said Cerdá.
Among governments that already have stepped up to help their country’s airlines:
- The United States provided US$61 billion in relief to the aviation sector
- France announced a financial aid package valued at EUR7 billion
- The Republic of Korea has promised financial support for local Full Service Carriers worth a total of KRW2.29 trillion (US$1.86 billion)
Air transport in Canada contributes C$51.4 billion to the country’s GDP and supports some 633,000 jobs (direct and indirect). Spending by foreign tourists supports another C$16.7 billion of GDP, making a total a contribution of C$68.1 billion. In total, 3.2% of the country's GDP is sustained by the inputs of the air transport sector and foreign tourists arriving by air.
"When the COVID-19 virus is brought under control, global economic activity will once again re-start and a viable aviation sector will be critical for the recovery. In a country as vast as Canada it is a lifeline upon which people and businesses depend," Cerdá said.
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