The three major global alliances are jointly calling on governments and industry stakeholders to take action to help them meet the unprecedented challenges facing global air transport as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
On behalf of their 60 member airlines, which represent more than half of the world’s capacity, Oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance together on March 16, 2020, expressed their firm support at the request of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). ) asking regulators to suspend the rules for the use of slots for the entire summer 2020 season in the northern hemisphere, « because the air sector is experiencing extraordinary declines in passenger demand ». The alliances welcome the measures taken in recent days by certain regulators who have temporarily suspended the rules for the use of slots (the FAA followed the example of EASA); they « invite others to follow the same path quickly », while also asking regulators to consider extending suspensions for the entire summer season.
The impact of COVID-19 on air transport is significant, say the alliances, the IATA estimates that the turnover losses of the world airlines of passenger transport could reach 100 billion euros. This impact « should ricochet the value chain that supports the aviation sector. This forecast loss of income estimate does not take into account travel restrictions recently imposed by the United States and other governments. » US restrictions on passengers from the Schengen area will impact the U.S.-Schengen area market, valued at more than $ 20 billion in 2019 according to the alliances.
Airlines belonging to the three global alliances have implemented urgent measures to address the impact of COVID-19, such as « massive capacity reductions, cost reduction initiatives, enhanced cleaning procedures and customer assistance ”. While they react proactively to limit the additional impact “in the face of rapidly changing political scenarios”, it is imperative that they are supported by governments and stakeholders “who can play a vital role in « alleviating the unprecedented challenges facing global airlines in these extremely difficult times. » The three alliances urge governments around the world to take action to prepare for the serious economic repercussions of state action, and « to assess all possible means to help the airline industry weather this unprecedented period ». They also call on « other stakeholders » to support carriers: for example, airport managers are called upon to review their charges in order to relieve the financial pressure on airlines due to the sharp drop in passenger demand.
« In these difficult and uncertain times, it is important that the airline industry works closely with stakeholders to limit the negative impact of the virus and collaborate in areas that are under our control. Governments must implement the measures they consider necessary to contain the spread of COVID-19 and must be prepared to face the large-scale economic implications that will result from these measures, « said Rob Gurney, CEO of Oneworld.