The Airports Council International (ACI) World and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have reiterated the call for governments to use testing as a means to safely re-open borders and re-establish global connectivity as well as to prevent the systemic collapse of the aviation industry with non-debt generating financial support.
IATA and ACI stated that safely re-opening borders without quarantine by using a coordinated approach to testing would boost the entire economy and be a revenue lifeline for airlines and airports.
ACI and IATA called on the ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Task Force to provide an internationally agreed and recognised approach to testing that could be adopted at a national level.
The two global aviation bodies said the dual measures would protect countries from the importation of COVID-19 cases, avert an employment crisis in the travel and tourism sector, and ensure that the critical aviation structure remains viable and able to support the economic and social benefits on which the world relies.
The Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) estimated that 46 million jobs are at risk because of the loss of connectivity caused by the COVID-19 crisis. The vast majority of these (41.2 million jobs) are in the travel and tourism sector, which relies on aviation, they noted. On the other hand, the remaining (4.8 million jobs) are spread across direct employment in aviation, including airports and airlines.
The viability of the airline sector to support employment was being challenged by the severe and prolonged fall in business, according to ACI, estimating that the airport industry would suffer a contraction by 60 per cent reduction in revenues, reaching an unprecedented negative $104.5 billion.
On the other hand, IATA estimated that airline revenues would be down at least 50 per cent ($419 billion compared to $838 billion in 2019).