IATA Now Says Coronavirus Could Cost Airlines $250 Billion

Less than three weeks after saying the airlines could lose $113 billion in revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has revised its estimates.

And it’s not good.

The industry advocate now says global passenger revenues could fall by $252 billion this year – 44 percent down from 2019’s figures.

“The airline industry faces its gravest crisis,” warned IATA’s Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac. “Within a matter of a few weeks, our previous worst-case scenario is looking better than our latest estimates. But without immediate government relief measures, there will not be an industry left standing. Airlines need $200 billion in liquidity support simply to make it through. Some governments have already stepped forward, but many more need to follow suit.”

de Juniac’s words came before the U.S. Senate came to an agreement to bail out American carriers with $58 billion in loans as part of a new stimulus package.

IATA said its $113 billion figure from earlier this month was an estimate “before countries around the world introduced sweeping travel restrictions that largely eliminated the international air travel market.” It said that the new $250 billion figure was based on “severe travel restrictions” lasting for up to three months, followed by a gradual economic recovery later this year.

While several governments have jumped in to help, United Kingdom Chancellor Rishi Sunak said that the government would only step in to help airlines as “a last resort.”

“Despite the significant economic interventions we have put in place, we will not be able to protect every single job or save every single business,” Sunak said.

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