Industry IATA postpones AGM, releases new traffic data for February

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IATA had to postpone the 76th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and the World Air Transport Summit due to the Coronavirus situation, which is demanding more and more sensitiveness from all players in the aviation branch.

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO said: “Our members are in the deepest crisis the air transport industry has ever faced. With much of the passenger business grounded as part of the global fight to contain the virus, many airlines are in a struggle to remain viable. On the cargo side, airlines are doing whatever they can to keep global supply chains moving with vital shipments, including those for critical medical supplies. We will come together as an industry when the freedom to travel has been restored and we can focus on air transport’s critical role in driving the economic and social recovery from this unprecedented crisis.”

The authority has also released, that the AGM and the Transport Summit will be held, when the situation has turned around and when it is safe and practicable to do so. IATA expects this situation for the early fourth quarter of 2020, an announcement will be made when the time and date is confirmed. Today, nobody really can estimate how long the crisis will batter the industry.

In February, the passenger demand plunged 14.1% compared to February 2019. This was the steepest decline in traffic since the attacks in September 2001. The number reflects the heavy impact of Coronavirus, especially within the Asia-Pacific region, where governments were fast to implement travel restrictions.

De Juniac said: “Airlines were hit by a sledgehammer called COVID-19 in February. Borders were closed in an effort to stop the spread of the virus. And the impact on aviation has left airlines with little to do except cut costs and take emergency measures in an attempt to survive in these extraordinary circumstances. The 14.1% global fall in demand is severe, but for carriers in Asia-Pacific the drop was 41%. And it has only grown worse. Without a doubt this is the biggest crisis that the industry has ever faced.”

For March, it is expected that the numbers for passenger travel demand will continue to fall, after more and more governments have decreed travel restrictions.

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