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IATA calls on Saudi Arabia for support amid mounting virus concerns

IATA calls on Saudi Arabia for support amid mounting virus concerns

According to IATA estimates, revenues generated by airlines in the Saudi market will fall by $7.2bn in 2020

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is calling upon Saudi Arabia for aviation-specific financial relief to stem the fallout of the Covid-19 crisis and its impact on the aviation industry.

According to IATA estimates, revenues generated by airlines in the Saudi market will fall by $7.2bn in 2020, 35 per cent lower than 2019 levels. This translates to up to 287,500 potential Saudi jobs losses and puts at risk $17.9bn of Saudi’s GDP, which is generated either by aviation directly or aviation-related tourism.

To combat the virus, the Saudi government has introduced measures amounting to $32bn in financial support for the private sector.

It has also provided support for air transport by suspending the airport slot use rules for the summer season and extending licences and certifications for crew, trainers and examiners.

However, IATA urges the government to build on the existing measures and consider the following financial relief steps:

  • Direct financial support to passenger and cargo carriers
  • Financial relief on airport and air traffic control (ATC) charges and taxes
  • Reduction, waiver or deferral of government-imposed taxes and fees

“Saudi Arabia has announced financial relief measures for sectors affected by Covid-19, but not specifically for aviation. Given the industry’s role in social and economic development as well as achieving the kingdom’s Vision 2030, it is important the government prioritises aviation and provide urgent financial relief,” said Muhammad Albakri, IATA’s regional vice president for Africa and the Middle East.

“Without a viable air transport sector, we can expect a slow and painful economic recovery. Before the crisis, Saudi Arabia was moving at full speed and achieving tangible results in modernisation, infrastructure development and economic growth. Fully supporting aviation now means a stronger recovery for the kingdom,” said Albakri.

Also read: Airlines need upto $200bn to survive virus – IATA

Since the outbreak, a total of 4.2 million cases have been recorded worldwide as well as 291,000 fatalities.

With inputs from Bloomberg

 

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