IATA has calculated that some 25 million jobs might be at risk amid falling demand for air travel caused by the coronavirus crisis.

According to figures released by the airline association today, “the livelihoods of some 65.5 million people are dependent on the aviation industry, including sectors such as travel and tourism”. Of that total, some 2.7 million people are employed directly by airlines.

Based on its current assumption of a 38% drop in RPKs this year alongside a 44% fall in passenger revenues, IATA suggests some 25 million of those 65.5 million jobs “are endangered across the world”.

The Asia-Pacific region is most affected, according to IATA’s modelling, with 11.2 million jobs under threat, followed by Europe with 5.6 million; Latin America with 2.9 million; North America and Africa, both with 2.0 million; and the Middle East with 900,000.

To reduce the crisis’ impact on the sector, IATA is calling on governments to provide ”immediate financial aid to help airlines to remain viable businesses able to lead the recovery when the pandemic is contained”. 

“There are no words to adequately describe the devastating impact of Covid-19 on the airline industry,” says IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac. “And the economic pain will be shared by 25 million people who work in jobs dependent upon airlines. Airlines must be viable businesses so that they can lead the recovery when the pandemic is contained. A lifeline to the airlines now is critical.”