Brian Pearce, IATA Chief Economist has explained the current situation that the global air transport industry finds itself in.
“First, let me reassure you that the global air transport industry is responsibly responding to this global pandemic. We are not public health experts, but airlines are following the best advice of experts—including the WHO—in adapting their operations to the challenges of the coronavirus. And we are—and will continue—helping in the response“.
“The measures that governments have introduced to restrict travel are shrinking the size of passenger operations. That is also removing significant cargo capacity from the system—capacity that is vitally needed to help keep supply chains going, including the delivery of critical medicines and medical equipment.
“That is what was behind our calls yesterday for governments to do all that they can to ensure efficient cargo operations. That includes exempting crew—who do not interact with the public—from quarantine, granting temporary traffic rights where needed, keep air cargo excluded from travel restrictions….and other practical measures to keep cargo moving at this critical time“.
“In these extraordinary times, we have also asked governments to take some extraordinary measures.
“One that you will have heard about is a waiver on slots—particularly the 80-20 use-it-or-lose-it rule. Demand patterns have shifted radically. And airlines should not be hindered by the 80-20 rule when adjusting their operations to the reality of today’s market. Governments have responded positively to this. Although we are concerned that the EU is only granting a waiver until June. It is unclear what demand will look like in June. So we are asking for this to be reviewed.
“Similarly, we are asking governments to recognize this as an extraordinary situation with respect to passenger rights regulations—particularly EU 261. Cancelling flights is the reality of today—often times because of government restrictions. We continue to ask governments to understand that this is totally beyond the control of the airlines“.