BUCHAREST – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on the Government of Romania to help air travel recover from the COVID-19 crisis by urgently providing promised financial relief to its aviation industry.
IATA estimates that as a result of the collapse in air traffic due to COVID-19, revenues generated by airlines in the Romanian market will fall by $1.4 billion in 2020 and passenger numbers by 59% compared to 2019. That puts at risk 54,300 Romanian jobs supported by aviation.
“The Romanian economy needs strong air connectivity and a healthy aviation sector to provide essential support for jobs and prosperity. The government has taken some steps to help airlines, but we urgently need the further aid of EUR130 million that was promised earlier this year, but never provided. More than 54,000 jobs are at risk if airlines collapse and the economic recovery is stalled through lack of adequate air links. Specific, targeted government financial relief can make all the difference at this crucial time,” said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Europe.
IATA’s latest forecast predicts that airlines in Europe will lose $21.5 billion in 2020, the worst year in aviation history. Airlines have taken emergency measures to preserve cash, but this will not be sufficient to prevent widespread job losses, cuts to routes, and the likely disappearance of some airlines. A number of governments have stepped in to provide financial relief measures to their airlines, including:
- France with a financial aid package valued at EUR7 billion
- Germany offering aid of EUR9 billion to Lufthansa
- Portugal with EUR 1.2 billion assistance package for TAP
- Greece with a EUR 150 million guarantee for Aegean
- Spain’s EUR260 million guarantee for Vueling
UK Covid financing facility with GBP 600 million for Easyjet and GBP 300 million for Wizz Air
“This is a dangerous moment for airlines in Romania. The improvement in air traffic is very slow and cash flows have suffered. Government support is needed now to ensure that Romania has a viable airline industry to lead the economic recovery,” said Schvartzman.
Measures to safeguard public health while travelling by air
It is essential that governments and industry implement, in a consistent way, the recommendations for restarting aviation while safeguarding public health. IATA has partnered with numerous aviation associations to urge key government ministries across Europe to cooperate to ensure a harmonized implementation of the recommendations of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Romania has implemented this guidance and is therefore leading the way in ensuring a safe and coordinated restart for air services.
“We gratefully acknowledge Romania’s leadership in adopting measures aligned with ICAO and EASA guidance, which strike the right balance of safeguarding public health and enabling viable air services, and we call on other governments to take similar action,” said Schvartzman.