The International Air Transport Association (IATA) urged G20 leaders to act quickly to support the aviation industry in order to prevent irrecoverable damage to international connectivity arising from the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
In an open letter to the G20 Presidency, IATA’s Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac emphasized the essential role that air transport will play in facilitating the recovery of the global economy. Noting that the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting government-mandated border closings and travel restrictions have led to the destruction of global air travel demand, de Juniac made a plea to governments to urgently provide, or facilitate the provision of, financial support. He noted that some G20 members already have acted, including Australia, Brazil and China.
De Juniac also pointed out that without the global connectivity provided by aviation, sustaining global supply chains, as well as developing country industries such as perishable horticulture and tourism would be impossible. By value, 35% of international trade flown by air, 57% of international tourists travel by air and each airline job contributes to 24 more in the wider economy.
IATA is not the only organisation requesting G20 to act on the effects of the new coronavirus to the travel industry. World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has urged the G20 leaders to execute crucial measures to save the travel and tourism sector following COVID-19. WTTC projected that 75 million jobs are at immediate risk due to the health crisis.