Aviation industry body the International Air Transport Association has said that up to 25m jobs could be at risk due to the global slump in travel as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
According to IATA chief executive Alexandre de Juniac, worldwide demand has slumped 70 per cent due to the crisis, with the figure rising to 90 per cent for Europe alone.
The combination of border closures and stringent travel bans has decimated the industry, meaning that airlines have been forced to ground flights, lay off staff and seek extra cash in a desperate bid to survive.
De Juniac repeated calls to governments around the world to come to the aid of airlines, saying that “we cannot leave the recovery of the sector to chance”:
“We must have firm and coordinated plans in place so that airlines can re-start operations when governments and public health authorities give us the all clear. And we need to be able to scale-up operations as demand returns.
“We have never shut down the industry on a global scale before. So this will be the first time for a re-opening”.
Airline stocks were among the biggest risers on the FTSE 100 today, as hopes began to grow that the current shutdown measures might not last as long as previously anticipated.
Easyjet rose over 15 per cent on signs that cases of the virus may be slowing in Europe, whilst British Airways owner IAG rose 7.3 per cent.
Since the crisis began, both airlines had lost about 50 per cent of their stock price due to the freefall in demand.
Yesterday Easyjet announced that it had secured £600m in commercial paper from the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Finance Facility, boosting its liquidity during the shutdown.
The budget airline has grounded its entire fleet of 350 planes due to the lack of demand.