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Coronavirus: More airlines brace for job cuts, says Iata

Issac John /Dubai Filed on August 6, 2020 | Last updated on August 6, 2020 at 02.53 pm
IATA, coronavirus, covid-19, airline, jobs, emirates, etihad, fly dubai


About 45 per cent of the global carriers have reported having already reduced their staff numbers in the second quarter of 2020.

The international aviation turmoil triggered by Covid-inflicted travel restrictions will be forcing more airlines to downsizing their staff significantly over the next 12 months, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) said.

"With the recovery in demand likely to be slow, 55 per cent of respondents expect to have to decrease employment levels over the coming 12 months," the global aviation body said in a statement following a quarterly business confidence survey of over 300 airlines.

About 45 per cent of global carriers, including the UAEs's Emirates, Etihad Airways and Air Arabia, have reported having already reduced their staff numbers in the second quarter of 2020 due to cost-cutting measures following the pandemic.

Even at the onset of the pandemic, Iata released an analysis showing that globally some 25 million jobs are at risk of disappearing with plummeting demand for air travel amid the crisis. 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

Coronavirus: More airlines brace for job cuts, says Iata (KT2519786.PNG)

The latest survey by the Geneva-based Iata, which represents about 290 airlines comprising 82 per cent of global air traffic, shows that 57 per cent of the carriers expect passenger yields to fall over the next 12 months and think ticket prices could fall due to the weak recovery in demand. About 19 per cent expect to see a gradual increase in fares once the balance between supply and demand is restored.

Iata expects air traffic to return to pre-crisis levels in 2024 and estimates that traffic will fall by 63 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019, with a shortfall of $419 billion in the sector due to the coronavirus crisis. Europe and the Asia-Pacific region are expected to be the first to return to 2019 traffic levels, while the Americas are expected to experience a slower recovery.

The aviation sector has been hit hard by the crisis, with almost all aircraft fleets grounded and tens of thousands of jobs lost. US carrier United has announced that it could lay off up to 36,000 employees. American Airlines has cited the figure of 25,000 redundancies.

Germany's Lufthansa wants to cut 22,000 jobs, Air Canada 20,000, British Airways 12,000, Air France-KLM up to 12,500, Australia's Qantas 6,000, Scandinavia's SAS 5,000 and Britain's easyJet 4,500. Latam, the largest airline in Latin America, has announced the loss of 2,700 jobs.

Virgin Australia announced on Wednesday that it would close budget subsidiary Tigerair Australia and lay off 3,000 staff as it prepares to relaunch under new owners.

Virgin Atlantic has applied for bankruptcy protection in the United States, court filings showed on Wednesday, as the British airline - which has not flown since April due to the virus - seeks to tie up a rescue deal in Britain.




Issac John

Editorial Director of Khaleej Times, is a well-connected Indian journalist and an economic and financial commentator. He has been in the UAE's mainstream journalism for 35 years, including 23 years with Khaleej Times. A post-graduate in English and graduate in economics, he has won over two dozen awards. Acclaimed for his authentic and insightful analysis of global and regional businesses and economic trends, he is respected for his astute understanding of the local business scene.

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