Africa: Airlines, Workers Seek Help to Save 4.8m Jobs

Lagos — Amidst the ravaging COVID-19, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) yesterday called for urgent government intervention to prevent “an employment catastrophe in the aviation industry.”

Estimates from the Air Transport Action Group suggest some 4.8 million aviation workers’ jobs are at risk as a result of more than 75% fall in air travel demand as at August 2020 compared to August 2019.

The organisations however called on governments to provide continued financial support for the aviation industry, safely re-open borders without quarantine by implementing a globally harmonised system of pre-departure COVID-19 testing.

IATA’s Director-General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, said, “Aviation faces an unprecedented employment catastrophe. Airlines have cut costs to the bone, but have just 8.5 months of cash left under current conditions.

“Tens of thousands of jobs have already been lost, and unless governments provide more financial relief, these are likely to increase to the hundreds of thousands.”

ITF’s General Secretary, Stephen Cotton, emphasised the need for governments to work together to safely re-open borders.

“The world’s aviation workers are calling on governments to act now, deliver the financial support that will protect their jobs and to commit to working with trade unions and employers to support the industry’s long-term recovery.”

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