UN aviation body ICAO welcomed a statement from G20 countries to aid in the global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, highlighting that aviation is one of the worst-hit sectors.

The G20 said on 26 March it will do “whatever it takes” to overcome the pandemic, and will continue to “conduct bold and large-scale fiscal support.”

ICAO President Salvatore Sciacchitano says he is encouraged by the G20 statements that those sectors affected the most would be prioritised.

“International air transport is clearly suffering very acutely as personal and global mobility continues to be curtailed, and in light of its instrumental role in worldwide response in times of crisis I am greatly encouraged that relief may soon be on the way.”

Airlines around the world have called for government support as the spread of coronavirus shuts borders and decimates travel demand, forcing them to ground much of their fleets.

Among the latest government and airline financing actions, Singapore announced a second stimulus package on 26 March. The country’s deputy prime minister highlights that it is important to support both Singapore Airlines and Changi airport to help with the recovery from the pandemic.

ICAO secretary general Fang Liu says in a statement: “Aviation connectivity is critical to successful global recovery from Covid-19.”

She adds: “And especially with respect to ensuring the flow of vital medical supplies, critical agricultural products, and other goods and services across borders, as well as resolving disruptions to global supply chains.”

The European Parliament also approved a plan on 26 March to suspend rules that require airlines to continue operating 80% of flights at certain EU airports in order to maintain slots.

Airlines had called for the waiver, which will apply for the whole summer season ‪from 29 March until 24 October 2020, in order to cope with the sharp drop in demand for flights.

“This will stop air carriers from operating empty flights during the pandemic,” the European Parliament said.

The plan had already been approved by the European Council and will come into force once published in the Official Journal of the European Union in the coming days.

Thomas Reynaert, managing director of Airlines for Europe, says: “We applaud EU Member States and the European Parliament for their swift action, which will help European aviation to better cope with this unprecedented crisis while also avoiding unnecessary CO2 emissions.”