Coronavirus pandemic and its impact on air traffic

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a unprecedented turnaround in the global aviation industry. Adoption of lock down measures and travel restrictions around the world have generated a huge impact on the global aviation industry. All of this has led to many fleets of parked aircraft, empty airports and a steep drop in passenger numbers. Unfortunately, this scenario has been going on for a long time. According to the IATA (International Air Transport Association), the number of passengers in Europe fell by 97% in June 2020 compared to last year.

According to some forecasts, it is believed that the industry will not return to the level of activity from 2019 before 2024. It is only clear that airlines, airports, landlords and other ancillary companies need to assess all available options in order to survive. It is quite likely that the effects of a pandemic in the aviation industry will be long-lasting, but what are the specific challenges facing companies?

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Airline liquidity

Losses in industry worldwide could exceed € 71 billion in 2020 as revenue is halved. First and foremost, many companies depend on public aid that will sooner or later cease. Furthermore, given the fear of new outbreaks and other waves in Europe, it is not possible to predict exactly when travel restrictions will be lifted.

Operating costs

So far, the main strategy to reduce operating costs has been to reduce staff. But these are temporary measures that will actually create more problems in the future, when operators try to reactivate their services, especially with more qualified and experienced staff, which would be harder to hire when the situation stabilizes.

IATA said that airlines around the world are facing $ 77,000 million in costs in the second half of 2020, so they will need additional financial assistance in addition to what they have already received from the government by the end of the year.

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Operational changes

Another majority uncertainty lies in defining what the new norm in the aviation industry will be. As some airlines begin to notice a little more activity, different approaches to social distancing measures are applied. Working with less capacity may not be sustainable as a long-term strategy for smaller operators with very limited cash reserves. Landlords are trying to build resilience to market instability, while some companies are likely to take new approaches to fleet management and pricing mechanisms.

The International Airport Council (CIA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have called on governments to remove quarantine and instead call for systematic testing of passengers for coronavirus.

The organizations claim that the closure of air traffic due to restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has had a catastrophic impact on employment as about 4.8 million jobs have been lost or threatened with disappearance in the sector.

The CIA and IATA said in a joint statement that governments must work together to remove air traffic restrictions and restart air travel. Also, opinions are that a systematic approach to testing on COVID-19 will yield results that will restore confidence in governments to reopen quarantine-free borders.

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Coordinated work of agencies on safe flights

IATA has worked with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the UN body in charge of sector regulation, and with the World Health Organization (WHO) to agree and implement sanitary measures to ensure security in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.

CIA General Director Luis Felipe de Oliveira said that airports and airlines are united in believing that a consistent approach to coronavirus passenger testing will help restore passenger confidence, avoid border closures and eliminate quarantine measures that hamper the sector’s true recovery efforts.

Alexandre de Juniac, CEO of IATA, an organization that groups 80% of airlines, said systematic testing is key to restoring connectivity. This is really necessary because millions of jobs depend on aviation. According to De Juniac, rapid coronavirus antigen tests are available for just $ 7 per aircraft. Airlines will push for their use to be approved by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

IATA believes that production could increase rapidly to millions of units per day and that tests will be introduced in phases between the end of November and the end of the year, helping to save part of the winter season.

The IATA Executive Director, pointed that a global agreement is needed to ensure that the country of destination uniformly accepts pre-flight test results.

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While we hope that everything will return to normal soon and as we fantasize and plan some new further trips, we want you to know that you can contact us with any questions regarding previous canceled flights, flights delayed to the destination or denied boarding. During the pandemic we realized there is a need to represent clients in case of money refund for unused airline tickets, so feel free to ask us a question about this issue. Don’t forget about the problems with flights back 3 years for which, too, you may be able to claim compensation.

You can check all of the above in the complaint form, and instructions for use are here. 😊 We believe that you will also find useful information in the blog with frequently asked questions and answers about canceled flights during a pandemic.

In case of a delayed, cancelled or overbooked flight you can receive up to 600€ compensation.