Skip to main content
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track on the Olympic Games
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track onthe Olympics Games
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Turkish Airlines sit on a tarmac at Istanbul Airport on March 29, 2020.

UMIT BEKTAS/Reuters

Global airlines will not start to recover from their worst-ever crisis until the last quarter of this year and any rebound will be short-lived if there is a new winter wave of coronavirus, the industry’s trade group warned on Tuesday.

Many carriers, even those with strong finances, are struggling to survive for that long as the industry burns $61 billion in cash this quarter because of a 70 per cent drop in traffic and revenue, the International Air Transport Association said.

Airlines are set to post a collective net loss of $39 billion this quarter as the majority of their aircraft are grounded to weather lockdowns and travel restrictions.

Story continues below advertisement

“These are numbers beyond anything we have ever had in our industry,” said Alexandre de Juniac, Director General of IATA, which urged governments to speed up bailouts for airlines facing estimated full-year revenue losses of $252 billion.

U.S. Congress passed legislation on Friday authorizing $25 billion for passenger airlines, as well as $4 billion for cargo carriers and $3 billion in cash for airport contractors.

IATA said it expected government fiscal measures and central bank action to feed through to higher travel demand from the fourth quarter, after a widespread second-quarter lockdown and continued weakness in the third.

But it warned that airlines were facing severe short-term difficulties, with the economy already tipping into recession.

“Everyone is eager to have cash and is running out of cash,” de Juniac said on a media conference call.

IATA’s Chief Economist Brian Pearce said growth in the fourth quarter and a strong 2021 were its base case scenario.

“It’s really not clear that that is actually going to happen. It could be that it takes much longer for us to get through the issues with the virus,” he told reporters.

Story continues below advertisement

“It could be that the virus comes back, so we are exploring scenarios where we have a much longer period of weakness, and obviously the pressures on airlines are correspondingly larger.”

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies