Asia's Airlines Face Huge Losses Due to COVID-19, Industry Warns

April 24, 2020

Kuala Lumpur (dpa) - An industry body representing nearly 300 airlines warned on Friday that carriers in the Asia-Pacific region could see business drop by half this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which includes 290 airlines among its members, said on Friday that the sector faces a revenue drop of 113 billion dollars - almost twice the gross domestic product of Myanmar - due to a pandemic that has killed around 190,000 people worldwide, according to official data collated by Johns Hopkins University in the US.

Airlines in the region face "a 50 per cent fall in passenger demand in 2020 compared to 2019," IATA stated, warning of catastrophic knock-on impacts.

Conrad Clifford, IATA's Asia-Pacific vice-president, said "11.2 million jobs are at risk, including those that are dependent on the aviation industry, such as travel and tourism."

He called on governments to step in to help stricken carriers, citing the collapse of airline Virgin Australia, which went into voluntary administration earlier in the week.

IATA's estimates are based on a scenario of "severe" travel restrictions lasting three months.

However governments in the region fear the pandemic and travel curbs could last longer.

Singapore has warned since March that the pandemic could last a year, while Malaysia, which on Thursday extended to May 12 a lockdown aimed at curbing the pandemic, has said it will keep its borders closed after the lockdown is ended - despite the potential devastation this could cause to the country's tourism industry.


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