Dubai: Revenue losses for airlines across the world could total $252 billion this year as against the $113 billion forecast earlier, as global travel falls victim to the COVID-19 outbreak.
This is the third time in a matter of weeks that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is forced to update its loss estimates.
Brian Pearce, chief economist at IATA, said on a conference call that recovery in the aviation world is unlikely to come quickly, and may take longer than six months as the world’s economy slumps into a deep recession.
“We will see a strong 2021 economic recovery, and that’s largely on the back of the massive fiscal stimulus that we’re starting to see from governments,” said Pearce.
Across the world, including in the UAE, governments have pledged trillions of dollars in economic stimulus measures and liquidity injections to boost businesses amidst the slowdown caused by the pandemic.
On the plus side, he said that IATA urged governments to speed up efforts to help their local airlines, and warned that the virus outbreak will not just hurt jobs, but will also be a “major hit on the global economy”.
IATA had in late February said the decline in passenger traffic – confined to a few regions at the time - could cause airlines $29 billion in revenues for 2020. It later updated that figure to $113 billion as more countries imposed travel restrictions, only to more than double that on Tuesday as further flights are axed.