The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) has called on the region’s governments to “take immediate action” to help airlines amid the coronavirus pandemic.

It notes that travel bans, border closures, lockdowns, quarantines, and other measures will see Asian airlines suffer revenue shortfalls of $60 billion in 2020.

“By the same token many of the one million workers employed in the Asia Pacific airline industry are unable to work because of the drastic reductions in operations,” it says. “Many are facing the threat of a loss of their livelihoods.”

One impact of major capacity cuts is a lack of cargo capacity, which AAPA says has drastically affect supply chains for items such as food and medical supplies.

The AAPA lists four measures goverments can take to assist airlines: 

  • Suspension of payroll taxes, deferment or reduction in income taxes, extension of payment terms, waiver of ticket taxes & other government levies, taxes, dues and charges for 2020
  • Direct financial support for reduced revenues and liquidity support due to travel restrictions
  • Extension of interest-free loans or loan guarantees, and support for corporate bond markets either directly or to commercial banks to extend credit for affected companies
  • Direct financial support for individuals facing loss of livelihoods

“Airlines have been taking tough but necessary steps to deal with the current crisis by sharply reducing operations and costs including discussions with staff members whilst trying to preserve jobs,” it says.

“Airlines are also actively seeking additional financing from banks and financial institutions. Such measures will, however, not be sufficient to guarantee the survival of the aviation sector.”

The AAPA’s members comprise Air Astana, All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, Bangkok Airways, Cathay Pacific Aireways, China Airlines, EVA Air, Garuda Indonesia, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Royal Brunei Airlines, Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airways.