The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called for more aviation-specific financial relief measures from the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
IATA estimated that revenues generated by airlines in the Kingdom could drop by as much as US$7.2 billion this year, 35% below 2019 levels. Should this come to fruition, 287,500 Saudi jobs could be lost as well as $17.9 billion of Saudi’s GDP.
Though the Kingdom has introduced a broad economic relief package standing at $32 billion, IATA pointed out that there’s a lack of aviation-specific support. “Saudi Arabia has announced financial relief measures for sectors affected by COVID-19, but not specifically for aviation. Given the industry’s role in social and economic development as well as achieving the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, it is important the government prioritizes aviation and provide urgent financial relief," said IATA regional VP for MEA Muhammad Albakri.
With this in mind, IATA has said the government should consider direct financial to passenger and cargo carriers; financial relief on airport and air traffic control charges and taxes and a reduction, waiver or deferral of government-imposed taxes and fees.
“Without a viable air transport sector, we can expect a slow and painful economic recovery. Before the crisis, Saudi Arabia was moving at full speed and achieving tangible results in modernisation, infrastructure development and economic growth. Fully supporting aviation now means a stronger recovery for the Kingdom,” said Albakri.
IATA has estimated the aviation industry on a global scale could lose upwards of $314 billion this year.