The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called for a stop to the current approach to quarantine restrictions after releasing a bleak outlook for the industry.
The airline body said European governments must start to work together towards the opening of borders and to find an alternative to quarantine before further damage to an already battered economy, IATA warned.
In its new forecasts, IATA predicted that traffic in the UK in August will fall 65%, (165 million passengers). The figure is a more dire projection than that which was forecast previously in June. The data indicates the decline will see UK airlines lose a combined US$30m in revenue.
Overall passenger numbers in Europe are forecast to fall by around 60% in 2020, representing 705 million passenger journeys.
With air travel not recovering as originally hoped, the negative impact on employment has increased, with more than seven million jobs at risk, IATA said.
“It is desperately worrying to see a further decline in prospects for air travel this year, and the knock-on impact for employment and prosperity,” IATA Regional Vice President for Europe Rafael Schvartzman said.
“It shows once again the terrible effect that is being felt by families across Europe as border restrictions and quarantine continue. It is vital that governments and industry work together to create a harmonised plan for reopening borders.”
Although the European market has seen an increase in activity, flights are still more than 50% below the same period in 2019.
“The near-term outlook for recovery in Europe remains highly uncertain with respect to the second wave of the pandemic and the broader global economic impact it could have,” the trade body added. “Passenger demand in Europe is expected to recover gradually and will not reach 2019 levels until 2024.”
Reiterating calls for the European Commission to extend the slot waiver through the winter: “It is absolutely crucial that the European Commission issue an unambiguous statement on their intention to provide a full Winter-season slot use waiver immediately,” he said. “It is baffling that the Commission continues to sit on its hands over the summer, while each day of delay becomes more critical for the future viability of a robust and competitive aviation industry.”