Financial aid essential to protect air transport in Romania. IATA urges government to inject cash to shield 54,000 jobs

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An industry group has urged The Romanian government to provide financial relief to the beleaguered aviation industry battered by the Covid-19 crisis.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicted airline revenues will fall by $1.4 billion in 2020 after a collapse in air traffic due to the crisis. Passenger numbers are expected to be down by 59% compared to 2019, putting at risk tens of thousands of Romanian jobs supported by aviation, the group said.

“The Romanian economy needs strong air connectivity and a healthy aviation sector to provide essential support for jobs and prosperity. The government has taken some steps to help airlines, but we urgently need the further aid of 130 million euros that was promised earlier this year, but never provided,” said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Europe.

“More than 54,000 jobs are at risk if airlines collapse and the economic recovery is stalled through lack of adequate air links. Specific, targeted government financial relief can make all the difference at this crucial time,”  he said.

IATA’s latest forecast predicts that airlines in Europe will lose $21.5 billion in 2020, the worst year in aviation history.

Airlines have taken emergency measures to preserve cash, but this will not be sufficient to prevent widespread job losses, cuts to routes, and the likely disappearance of some airlines.

A number of governments have stepped in to provide financial relief measures to their airlines, including France with a financial aid package valued at 7 billion euros, Germany which has offered aid of 9 billion to flagship Lufthansa, Portugal with 1.2 billion euros assistance package for TAP, Greece with a 150 million euro guarantee for Aegean, while Spain has offered a 260 million euro guarantee for Vueling, Travel Daily News reported.

 Easyjet will also receive 600 million pounds and Wizz Air 300 million pounds from the British government.

“This is a dangerous moment for airlines in Romania. The improvement in air traffic is very slow and cash flows have suffered. Government support is needed now to ensure that Romania has a viable airline industry to lead the economic recovery,” said Schvartzman.

He said IATA “gratefully acknowledge Romania’s leadership in adopting measures aligned with ICAO and EASA guidance, which strike the right balance of safeguarding public health and enabling viable air services, and we call on other governments to take similar action.”

The global airline industry group says it is expecting $29 billion in losses in 2020 for airlines in the Asia Pacific region. This is more than a third of the projected $84.3 billion industry losses worldwide for 2020, IATA says.


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