The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released data revealing that the COVID-19 crisis has had a devastating impact on international connectivity, shaking up the rankings of the world’s most connected cities.
“The dramatic shift in the connectivity rankings demonstrates the scale at which the world’s connectivity has been re-ordered over the last months. But the important point is that rankings did not shift because of any improvement in connectivity.
“That declined overall in all markets. The rankings shifted because the scale of the decline was greater for some cities than others. There are no winners, just some players that suffered fewer injuries. In a short period of time we have undone a century of progress in bringing people together and connecting markets.
“The message we must take from this study is the urgent need to re-build the global air transport network,” said IATA’s Senior Vice President for Member External Relations, Sebastian Mikosz.
IATA’s 76th Annual General Meeting called on governments to safely re-open borders using testing. “The systematic testing of travelers is the immediate solution to rebuilding the connectivity that we have lost. The technology exists. The guidelines for implementation have been developed. Now we need to implement, before the damage to the global air transport network becomes irreparable,” said Mikosz.
Air transport is a major engine of the global economy. In normal times some 88 million jobs and $3.5 trillion in GDP is supported by aviation. More than half of this employment and economic value is at risk from the collapse in global air travel demand. “Governments must realize that there are major consequences for peoples’ lives and livelihoods. At least 46 million jobs supported by air transport are in peril. And the strength of the economic recovery from COVID-19 will be severely compromised without the support of a functioning air transport network,” said Mikosz.