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Global airline industry to lose $252 billion in 2020 due to coronavirus pandemic: IATA

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Amid coronavirus pandemic, global airlines body IATA said on Tuesday that the airlines would face USD 252 billion-loss of passenger revenue in 2020, which would be 44 per cent lower than 2019 figures.

"On March 5, we thought that the pessimistic scenario was a revenue loss of USD 113 billion. That was based on wide spreading of COVID-19, but not as severe as the current blanket of travel restrictions," said Alexandre De Juniac, Director General, International Air Transport Association (IATA).

He told reporters in a conference call that "if this lasts for a three-month period, we see a 38 per cent fall in global demand and a USD 252 billion loss of passenger revenue44 per cent down on 2019".

International Air Transport Association (IATA) represents around 290 airlines comprising 82 per cent of the global air traffic.

India has banned international flights for a period of one week from Sunday. Moreover, there would be no domestic flights in India from Tuesday midnight to March 31.

"IATA has been asking governments to provide a lifeline of financial support. A liquidity crisis is coming at full speed. Revenues have fallen off a cliff," Juniac told reporters.

"And no amount of cost cutting can save the day if no cash is coming in the door. Without financial relief airlines will go bust. And that could happen en masse," he added.

In India, GoAir has laid off its expat pilots, introduced leave without pay for its employees and announced paycut of up to 50 per cent for its top leadership.

IndiGo has announced a pay cut of up to 25 per cent for its senior employees. Air India has stated that due to "insurmountable dip" in revenues, it will cut allowances of all employees -- except cabin crew members -- by 10 per cent for next three months.

IATA's Chief Economist Brian Pearce told reporters in the conference call, "We have never had a situation when a global epidemic has coincided with a recession. This means that recovery would be gradual whenever the travel restrictions are removed, which we expect to happen in the next few months. The recovery would not be quick."

Apart of top 30 airlines in the world, the rest of the airline industry has high debt levels, Pearce noted.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, March 24 2020. 20:50 IST