INTERNATIONAL. Airports Council International (ACI) World has called for action to protect the livelihoods of millions of employees working at airports around the world amid the COVID-19 crisis.
The organization says airports employ more than 6.1 million people globally, directly or indirectly, accounting for 60% of all jobs in the aviation industry. Travel bans and other measures in the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak have placed “enormous and unprecedented economic pressure” on the aviation industry, according to ACI’s global chief executive, Angela Gittens.
In a new blog post on the ACI World website, she said, “ACI World calls on states to consider financial relief measures that will help mitigate the significant decline in cash flow and ensure business continuity. and commercial activities of airports, and to protect jobs.
“The current crisis is having a domino effect and Tourism Economics, an Oxford economy company, estimates that the drop in spending by international visitors to the United States will be 13 times the impact of SARS and almost double the impact of September 11.
“Indeed, it is expected that the decline in economic activity could potentially exceed the loss of income suffered during the global financial crisis of 2008, according to the International Monetary Fund.
“Recognizing that the entire aviation ecosystem has been affected by this crisis, financial assistance should be non-discriminatory and not benefit one actor to the detriment of another actor in the aviation ecosystem. aviation. “
ACI World calls for a series of measures to be considered. These include the immediate provision of government assistance through grants and subsidies to support the operating expenses and salaries of airport staff.
Other possible measures include securing financing and guaranteed loans at preferential rates and bank guarantees, as well as the suspension of all national and local aviation specific taxes for 2020.
ACI World also believes that airport rents and concession fees applicable to airport operators should be waived or postponed, regardless of their ownership status.
States should also consider maintaining a minimum level of employment to allow operations to continue and preserve a rapid return to full operations, the organization said. “This would mean sustained wage guarantees for those still employed and bridging programs for those temporarily made redundant,” Gittens wrote.
Current forecasts are that airport industry losses of up to US $ 70 billion are expected due to COVID-19, ACI World said, compared to a pre-COVID-19 baseline expected in 2020. The estimated losses are almost equivalent to the total income. base of the 50 busiest hubs in the world, and this does not take into account “the losses that other service providers will inevitably suffer at airports”.
ACI World said it will issue a detailed update on the expected economic impact of the pandemic on the global airport industry next week. Gittens’ full blog post can be read here.