Monthly Archives

March 2020

Airlines for Europe: European governments must act now to reduce COVID-19 impact on aviation

By Points of view

In light of the mounting impact of newly imposed COVID-19 travel restrictions in the U.S. and widespread flight cancellations across Europe, A4E airlines are demanding immediate action from European and national governments to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the aviation sector. 

Urgent measures needed include: 

–  Immediate passing of temporary airport slots waiver through summer season

–  Deferment or waiver of new aviation taxes at EU or national level.

–  Immediate clarity for airlines and passengers on COVID-19 counting as an extraordinary circumstance under Regulation 261/ air passenger rights. 

Click here to read the statement in full.

KLM update flight changes due to travel restrictions

By Newsletters
KLM, Amstelveen, 14 March 2020
Worldwide, many countries are restricting travel on passenger flights. These restrictions are sometimes introduced at very short notice. For the coming days KLM will operate as much as possible according to schedule to allow passengers to return to their homes.

If a country bans passengers from entry, but flights are allowed, KLM will operate as much as possible to allow passengers who are in that country to return home.

Passengers are strongly advised to inform themselves about the restrictions applicable to their journey. On the KLM flight update page and in the IATA Travel Centre more information is available.

Due to the sheer volume of rebookings KLM staff is extremely busy. Therefore it can take some time before KLM will be able to reach out to customers to find a solution for their situation. If your flight is not scheduled in the coming days, please return to our site at a later time.

Answers to frequently asked questions by passengers about coronavirus, rebooking, et cetera please can be found at updates.klm.com

IATA Welcomes EU Suspension of Slot Use Rules

By Points of view
Geneva – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed the announcement by the European Commission (EC) granting the temporary suspension until June 2020 of the 80-20 “use it or lose it” rule for airport slots.The decision reflects the unprecedented situation facing the airline industry. However, granting the suspension only until June is the very minimum the industry needs, and a decision on a full suspension until October will be needed within the next month to allow airlines to plan their schedules.The COVID-19 virus has caused a collapse in global air travel demand. Owing to the requirement to continue to operate an airport slot for at least 80% of the time, airlines have been unable to respond by adjusting their capacity. The suspension of the slot use rules until June will allow airlines to begin putting in place measures to cope with the unprecedented fall in traffic, but it is a shorter period than airlines had requested. Airlines need the suspension to be extended to cover the whole season (to October), as other regulators worldwide have already agreed. The EC will therefore need to review the extension request by April 15.

“Airlines are in crisis. The collapse in demand is unprecedented. And airlines are struggling to match capacity to the fast-changing situation. The Commission’s decision to suspend slot use rules until June means that airlines can make these critical decisions immediately—without worrying about the impact on future availability of slots. This is much needed and most welcome. However, given all the uncertainties, it is disappointing that the decision does not cover the full season,” said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Europe.

The Commission’s decision will benefit airlines, airports and passengers in numerous ways including;

  • Allowing airlines to plan schedules and redeploy aircraft and crew to where demand is highest
  • Improve economic and environmental sustainability by ensuring that flights for which there is no demand can be cancelled
  • Enable airlines more flexibility to plan for the recovery phase and re-introduce capacity where and when needed
  • Ensure that the industry can return to normal as quickly as possible once the crisis is over

Airlines have been among the hardest-hit by the COVID-19 outbreak. IATA estimates that airline revenues could fall by $113 billion (19%) if the virus is not contained (this estimate was made before the announcement of the restrictions to travelers inbound to the United States from the Schengen area). And the aviation industry will be crucial for the global economy to recover as quickly as possible once COVID-19 is brought under control.

“Airlines are implementing emergency measures under severe cashflow conditions. Along with relaxing slot rules, governments must also consider other forms of emergency relief,” said Schvartzman.

 

For more information, please contact:

Corporate Communications
Tel: +41 22 770 2967
Email: corpcomms@iata.org

Notes for editors:

  • IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 290 airlines comprising 82% of global air traffic.
  • You can follow us at https://twitter.com/iatafor announcements, policy positions, and other useful industry information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IATA Reacts to Latest US Travel Restrictions

By Points of view, Topics in Focus

Geneva – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and its members continue to support governments in their efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. At this time of extreme pressure on the industry, IATA urged governments to:

  • Prepare for the broad economic consequences of these actions,
  • Respond quickly to the financial frailty of airlines, and
  • Follow WHO (World Health Organization) recommendations.

These calls come in response to the US government’s banning of non-US citizens, and individuals who are not legal permanent residents of the US, who have been in the Schengen Area in the past 14 days from entry into the United States.

“These are extraordinary times and governments are taking unprecedented measures. Safety—including public health—is always a top priority. Airlines are complying with these requirements. Governments must also recognize that airlines—employing some 2.7 million people—are under extreme financial and operational pressures. They need support,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

Economic Impact

When taking such measures, IATA urged governments to prepare for the adverse economic impact that they will cause. The dimensions of the US-Europe market are enormous.

In 2019, there was a total of around 200,000 flights scheduled between the United States and the Schengen Area, equivalent to around 550 flights per day. There were around 46 million passengers (roughly equivalent to 125,000 travelers every day).

While the US measure recognizes the need to continue to facilitate trans-Atlantic trade, the economic fallout of this will be broad.

“Governments must impose the measures they consider necessary to contain the virus. And they must be fully prepared to provide support to buffer the economic dislocation that this will cause. In normal times, air transport is a catalyst for economic growth and development. Suspending travel on such a broad scale will create negative consequences across the economy. Governments must recognize this and be ready to support,” said de Juniac.

Airline Financial Viability

Airlines are already struggling with the severe impact that the COVID-19 crisis has had on their business. On 5 March 2020, IATA estimated that the crisis could wipe out some $113 billion of revenue. That scenario did not include such severe measures as the US and other governments (including Israel, Kuwait, and Spain) have since put in place.

The US measures will add to this financial pressure. The total value of the US-Schengen market in 2019 was $20.6 billion. The markets facing the heaviest impact are US-Germany ($4 billion), US-France ($3.5 billion) and US-Italy ($2.9 billion).

“This will create enormous cash-flow pressures for airlines. We have already seen Flybe go under. And this latest blow could push others in the same direction. Airlines will need emergency measures to get through this crisis. Governments should be looking at all possible means to assist the industry through these extreme circumstances. Extending lines of credit, reducing infrastructure costs, lightening the tax burden are all measures that governments will need to explore. Air transport is vital, but without a lifeline from governments we will have a sectoral financial crisis piled on top of the public health emergency,’ said de Juniac.

WHO Recommendations

The World Health Organization (WHO) continues to advise against the application of travel or trade restrictions to countries experiencing outbreaks. On 29 February 2020 the WHO issued revised guidance which included the following:

“Travel measures that significantly interfere with international traffic may only be justified at the beginning of an outbreak, as they may allow countries to gain time, even if only a few days, to rapidly implement effective preparedness measures. Such restrictions must be based on a careful risk assessment, be proportionate to the public health risk, be short in duration, and be reconsidered regularly as the situation evolves.”

“We urge the US and other governments that have placed travel restrictions to follow the WHO guidance. This is fast evolving. Health and safety are the top priorities for governments and the air transport sector. But the effectiveness and necessity of travel restrictions must be continuously reviewed,” said de Juniac.

See the Impact of US Travel Ban infographic (pdf)

For more information, please contact:

Corporate Communications
Tel: +41 22 770 2967
Email: corpcomms@iata.org

Notes for editors:

  • IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 290 airlines comprising 82% of global air traffic
  • You can follow us at https://twitter.com/iata for announcements, policy positions, and other useful industry information
  • The countries which comprise the Schengen Area are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland
  • US to Germany, France and Italy are the largest passenger markets for the US-Schengen Area traffic. There were 7.6 million, 7.6 million and 6.9 million Origin-Destination (O-D) passenger journeys respectively between these markets and the US in 2019
  • Of the Schengen Area countries, Iceland has the highest exposure to the US market, with 17.1% of its total O-D air traffic, followed by the Netherlands (6.5%) and France (5.2%)
  • The US-UK market (which is exempt from the travel ban) is significant, with 17m passengers in total in 2019 (roughly 47,000 per day, equal to more than one third of the total US-Schengen market)
  • Assistance measures governments could consider include temporary flexibility in the application of passenger rights regulations, deferral of tax payments, and government support to encourage reduced costs and charges for airports and ANSP services

 

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