IATA is warning that the impact of the coronavirus on Europe’s aviation industry will be even greater than it estimated in June.

The association now expects passenger numbers to decline by around 60% this year – equating to 705 million fewer journeys.

Across Europe’s five largest aviation markets of the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy, IATA forecasts a yearly decline in passenger numbers of 608 million. Back in June, it had predicted a fall of 573 million.

“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,” says IATA. “Passenger demand in Europe is expected to recover gradually and will not reach 2019 levels until 2024.”

Although the continent has seen a pick-up in travel over the summer as lockdowns have eased, the level of air traffic is still below 50% that of the same period last year.

IATA notes that the knock-on impact of reduced flying now threatens around 7 million jobs, mostly in the tourism sector. This is an increase from the 6 million jobs that it said were threatened in June.

“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,” states Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s regional vice-president for Europe.

“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.”