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Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint
Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint

Airlines in Asia Pacific region to lose $31.7 billion in 2020: IATA

  • IATA top official says that it has urged the Indian government to provide financial assistance to airlines, airports and other aviation stake holders

NEW DELHI : Airlines in the Asia Pacific region, including India, are expected to report losses to the tune of $31.7 billion during calendar year 2020, due to the covid-19 pandemic and a muted travel appetite, while losses next year are expected to narrow down to $7.5 billion, industry body International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Wednesday.

IATA, however, expects airlines performance to improve during the second half of 2021, though the industry body expects passenger traffic to rebound to 2019-levels only by calendar year 2024.

Total capacity utilized by airlines in the Asia Pacific region is expected to fall by 55.1% during 2020, as compared to the previous year, while total number of passengers carried by airlines in the region during 2020 is expected to fall by 62% from the previous year, according to a IATA presentation which was displayed during a media briefing at the body's 76th annual general meeting.

"There's a real risk of airline failures, especially medium and small airlines, so IATA has asked governments to intervene," said Conrad Clifford, regional vice president of Asia Pacific Region at IATA.

Though Clifford didn't give the net loss figures for Indian airlines, one of the worst affected in the region, he said that it has urged the Indian government -- which hasn't yet provided any financial assistance to airlines -- to change its current stand.

"We (have) urged the Indian government to assist airlines, airports, and other aviation stakeholders," Clifford added.

Indian airlines have been adversely hit by the covid-19 pandemic, which has resulted in muted passenger demand amidst travel restrictions imposed by various states to contain the pandemic.

This has led to airlines reporting huge losses during the past few quarters. No-frill carrier SpiceJet Limited had earlier this month reported a consolidated loss of 105.61 crore for the September quarter, its third consecutive quarterly loss.

In comparison, India's largest domestic airline, InterGlobe Aviation Ltd operated IndiGo last month reported a record consolidated net loss of 1,195 crore during the September quarter.

IndiGo and SpiceJet are currently the only active listed airlines on the country's stock exchanges. Another listed airline, Jet Airways (India) Limited hasn't flown since April 2019 due to acute fund crunch.

Meanwhile, state-run Air India Limited is also expected to rake up huge losses during 2020.

IATA had on Tuesday said that airlines globally will lose over $118.5 billion, the biggest in aviation history, during calendar year 2020 due to the covid-19 pandemic and a muted travel appetite, while losses next year are expected to be at $38.7 billion.

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