Global airline alliances are calling on government and stakeholders to act on alleviating the “unprecedented challenges” faced by the global airline industry amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
The impact COVID-19 is having one the airline industry is eye-popping, with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimating up to $113 billion USD in revenue losses for global passenger airlines.
oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance addressed their concerns in a press release issued Monday (March 16th).
“During such times of difficulty and uncertainty, it is important that the airline industry works even closer with stakeholders to mitigate adverse impacts from the virus and collaborate in areas within our control,” oneworld CEO Rob Gurney stated. “Governments must implement the measures they consider necessary to contain the spread of COVID-19, and must be prepared for the widescale economic implications that will result from those measures.”
The three global alliances represent almost 60 airlines around the world, contributing to more than half of global airline capacity.
They are supporting a request by the International Air Transport Association for regulators to suspend slot usage rules for the northern summer 2020 season as the airline industry suffers from extraordinary reductions in passenger demand.
The alliances welcomed the moves in recent days by some regulators who have suspended slot regulations temporarily and urge others to follow suit promptly.
They also request that regulators consider extending the suspensions for the entire operating season.
The economic impact of COVID-19 is expected to have a “ripple effect” through the value chain that supports the airline industry, the release explained.
The forecasted revenue loss scenario does not include travel restrictions recently imposed by the U.S. and other governments either.
“The human and financial impact that the COVID-19 outbreak is having on the aviation industry is unprecedented. SkyTeam, with its alliance partners, and on behalf of member airlines, is urging all involved institutions and industry stakeholders to face these extraordinary times with exceptional measures. This includes action such as slot relief, airport and overflight fees reduction,” SkyTeam CEO and Managing Director Kristin Colvile wrote.
Member airlines of the three global alliances have implemented urgent measures to address the impact of COVID-19, such as significant capacity reductions, cost-saving initiatives, enhanced cleaning procedures and customer support outreach.
Star Alliance CEO Jeffrey Goh said that the circumstances triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak “pose an existential threat not only to the airline industry but more generally to global trade and commerce, and social connectivity.”
“As airlines stretch their limits to manage the crisis, it is equally critical for governments and stakeholders to avoid further burdens and step up with measures, as some have, that will ensure the future of the travel industry,” Goh said.
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