Airlines Need Up To $200 bn In Emergency Aid – IATA



Up to $200 billion is needed to rescue the world’s airlines during the coronavirus crisis, the global aviation association said Thursday, appealing especially to African and Middle Eastern countries to provide emergency assistance.

“Support measures are urgently needed,” the International Air Transport Association said in a statement, adding that “on a global basis, IATA estimates that emergency aid of up to $200 billion is required”.

Airlines worldwide face an unprecedented existential threat as the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 9,000 people around the world, shuts down global travel.

“Stopping the spread of COVID-19 is the top priority of governments,” IATA chief Alexandre de Juniac said in the statement.

“But they must be aware that the public health emergency has now become a catastrophe for economies and for aviation,” he said, pointing out that “the scale of the current industry crisis is much worse and far more widespread than 9/11, SARS or the 2008 global financial crisis.”

“Airlines are fighting for survival,” he said, warning that “millions of jobs are at stake.”

IATA expressed particular concern for the situation in Africa and the Middle East, where many routes have been suspended, and where demand has fallen by as much of 60 percent on the remaining routes.

READ ALSO: Tokyo Olympics May Be Postponed Due To Covid-19 – Athletics Chief

It pointed out that the air transport industry’s economic contribution in Africa alone is estimated at $55.8 billion, supporting 6.2 million jobs and contributing 2.6 percent of the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP).

In the Middle East, the contribution stands at $130 billion, some 4.4 percent of GDP, supporting 2.4 million jobs, it said.

“Airlines need urgent government action if they are to emerge from this in a fit state to help the world recover, once COVID-19 is beaten,” Juniac said.

Carriers across Africa and the Middle East had begun implementing extensive cost-cutting measures to mitigate the financial impact of the pandemic, IATA said, but warned that airlines in the regions on average held enough cash reserves for approximately two months.

“Due to flight bans as well as international and regional travel restrictions, airlines’ revenues are plummeting (and) outstripping the scope of even the most drastic cost containment measures,” it said.

IATA called on governments to provide support in various ways, including through direct financial aid to passenger and cargo carriers, loans and loan guarantees and tax relief.


Boko Haram: Turkish Airlines Denies Carrying Weapons To Nigeria

Boko Terror Turkish AirlinesTurkish Airlines have denied carrying weapons and military equipment to Nigeria after a Twitter account behind a string of leaks in a Turkish corruption scandal released a voice recording suggesting it had done so.

The recording, whose authenticity has not been verified, is purportedly of a conversation between a senior Turkish Airlines employee and one of the advisers of Turkish Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdogan.

Part of the voice recording of an alleged Turkish Airlines official, goes, “Lots of material is on its way to Nigeria right now. Is it going to kill Muslims or Christians? I am sinning right now, you should know.”

The airline said in an e-mailed statement that it only carried weapons and military equipment in line with international law and International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations and that no weapons were carried to Nigeria.

Arik Air owes us over N7 billion – FAAN

The Managing Director of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN),  George Uriesi on Friday said that Arik Air owes the authority over N7 billion.

Mr Uriesi, who was a guest on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, said Arik Air’s debt resulted from the company’s refusal to the mandatory parking and landing charges.

“I have come to the conclusion that the business module of Arik is to operate and get by without paying its bills,” the FAAN boss said.

The airline company, while announcing the suspension of flight operations in Lagos on Thursday had said that said operations would not resume until FAAN and the Ministry of Aviation resolve the issue and reconcile the accounts, to settle the crisis arising from the debt issue.

Chris Ndulue, Arik Air’s Vice President had said the allegation that the airline was indebted to FAAN was fictitious and malicious, adding that the airline only had about N1.6 billion debts outstanding before the authority introduced the pay- as –you- go system of payment.

According to him, the airline did not owe N7.2 billion as claimed by FAAN.

Mr Uriesi however debunked the claims by the company saying that Arik Air’s statement was meant to deceive Nigerians.

“To my shock yesterday, they actually deceived Nigerians by saying that for the past 18 months they’ve been ‘paying as you go’, which is not true

“What happened 18 months ago was another way of rescuing ourselves from not getting paid because the passengers, if you fly you pay us a thousand naira for passenger service charge. The law says that money is on the ticket.

“But the airlines, particularly Arik were never remitting this money to FAAN. So we decided about 18 months ago to going back to what airports use to do in the 60s, printing special tickets for the passenger service charge to force the airline to buy upfront. If we allow it to be on the tickets, they will never remit the money to us. It is our money,” he said.

Watch the