Airlines seek billions in government support – IATA

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Global airlines need to up to $200 billion of government support to help survive the coronavirus crisis, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said.

Issuing a rallying call for the aviation industry, IATA chief Alexandre de Juniac said governments needed to act decisively to support carriers as many companies are running out of cash.

“If we want to maintain a strong airline sector to cope with this crisis and provide the resources to ensure the recovery will happen in due time, we need governments to act strongly and quickly,” he said.

The $150 billion to $200 billion IATA estimate includes indirect support such as loan guarantees and comes after US airlines asked for a $50 billion bailout.

The crisis escalated in the past week, with countries issuing travel curbs and bans, including the US imposing restrictions on travel from Europe and the EU closing its borders. The moves forced airlines to ground large portions of fleets as passenger numbers plunge.

De Juniac said airlines were asking governments for a broad financial support package including support for corporate bond markets.

IATA chief economist Brian Pearce said cash was running out for many airlines and 75% had cash to cover less than three months of unavoidable fixed costs.

Passenger numbers were likely to be down significantly more than the 16% decline IATA previously estimated, Pearce said.