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Coronavirus pandemic puts millions of aviation sector jobs at risk, recovery may take 'over a year'

Globally, the livelihoods of some 65.5 million people are dependent on the aviation industry, including sectors such as travel and tourism. Among these are 2.7 million airlines jobs. 

Published: 07th April 2020 08:30 PM  |   Last Updated: 07th April 2020 08:30 PM   |  A+A-

An Air India flight landing at Indira Gandhi International airport in Delhi

An Air India flight landing at Indira Gandhi International airport in Delhi.(Photo | Shekhar Yadav, EPS)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Tuesday said that globally some 25 million jobs are at risk of disappearing with plummeting demand for air travel amid the COVID-19 crisis. According to its new finding, 11.2 million jobs are at risk in Asia-Pacific, highest for a specific region. 

IATA had last week estimated that the Indian aviation industry could suffer estimated losses of up to $8,838 million due to the pandemic which could result in over 2.2 million people losing their jobs if not assisted by the government on urgent basis. 

Globally, the livelihoods of some 65.5 million people are dependent on the aviation industry, including sectors such as travel and tourism. Among these are 2.7 million airlines jobs. 

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“There are no words to adequately describe the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the airline industry. And the economic pain will be shared by 25 million people who work in jobs dependent upon airlines. Airlines must be viable businesses so that they can lead the recovery when the pandemic is contained. A lifeline to the airlines now is critical,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

Speaking of recovery, aviation consultancy firm CAPA has said that India's aviation sector will take up to 12 months from the time restrictions are lifted to return to a pre-COVID operational fleet of 650 aircraft. Additionally, more than 200 aircraft, that are scheduled for delivery over the next couple of years, are likely to be deferred by 1-2 years.

Domestic traffic is expected to decline from an estimated 140 million in FY2020 to around 80-90 million in FY2021. International traffic is expected to fall from approximately 70 million in FY2020 to 35-40 million in FY2021, and possibly less.

All of CAPA's projections assume that travel restrictions are mostly lifted by the end of the first quarter. If lockdown conditions are extended, then these estimates would be subject to revision.

Currently, there is uncertainty on how the 21-day lockdown will be phased out. While private carriers are taking bookings for flights scheduled to fly from April 15 onwards, the central government hasn't announced any guidelines on how the ban would be lifted. 

The outbreak of coronavirus has severely impacted India's aviation sector. According to estimates by the various brokerage house, the two listed players, IndiGo and SpiceJet, stands to lose over $1 billion in revenue due to suspension of operations. 

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