Association: Corona costs airlines over 200 billion dollars

Boston (dpa) – According to association estimates, the corona pandemic will result in losses of more than 200 billion dollars in the aviation industry.

For this year is still with a minus of 52 billion dollars (currently 44, 7 billion euros) to be expected, said the general director of the global Airline Association IATA, Willie Walsh, on Monday. At the same time, the low point of the crisis has passed. For the coming year, the organization still expects red numbers of around twelve billion dollars, until the bottom line is that the industry 2023 will again be profitable.

Last year with the drastic Slump in air traffic, airlines worldwide posted a loss of 138 billion dollars.

Until 2050 carbon neutral?

Despite the difficult financial situation, the industry decided, under increasing pressure, to fly climate-neutral by the year 2050. This requires a combination of sustainably produced fuel, new aircraft designs, more efficiency, as well as binding carbon dioxide and offsetting emissions, said Walsh at the IATA annual conference in Boston. There was resistance from Chinese airlines to the objective, but this did not prevail.

With the acceptance at the annual conference, the objective is now the official position of the IATA, said Walsh. But the individual airlines could take different paths and set their own goals, he emphasized. The debate shows how much this is a challenge.

Passengers are increasingly interested in their carbon footprint as well as in legroom in the aircraft, said the head of the ICAO aviation organization, Salvatore Sciacchitano . That’s why the industry has to act.

At the same time, people wanted to fly, stressed Walsh. Domestic flights in some markets have now almost reached pre-pandemic levels. This shows that people want to travel, stressed Walsh at the IATA annual conference in Boston. At the same time, he demanded that corona measures should only remain in force as long as they were needed – “and not a day longer”. “There should be no hurdles for vaccinated travelers,” demanded Walsh.

Hope to return to the USA

The industry also has hopes for a further recovery for the beginning of November announced reopening of entry to the USA for vaccinated travelers, among others from the EU. The airlines had been demanding this for months. Walsh no longer sees any reason for travel restrictions: “Covid – 19 is present in all parts of the world.” And corona tests on air travelers showed that they pose no additional risk. Of 4.2 million passengers who arrived in Great Britain from February to the end of August, only 57. 200 tested positive.

The IATA boss sharply attacked airports that wanted more money from the airlines after the pandemic. “Some of our so-called partners want to increase the fees in order to get the money that the airlines could not spend on them during the crisis.” In total, the taxes have already been increased by 2.3 billion dollars this year. “That’s outrageous,” said Walsh. «This has to stop.»

The next annual meeting has been set for June 2022 in Shanghai.

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