Air transport remains a vital part of the economy which, in pre-COVID-19 times, supports 88 million jobs and contributes $3.5 trillion to global Gross Domestic Product, says Director-General of Airports Council International (ACI) World Luis Felipe de Oliveira.
Luis Felipe de Oliveira stated this at the recent World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit about how the industry can work together to safeguard and rebuild the millions of aviation jobs threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic in Cancun, Mexico.
According to Luis Felipe de Oliveira, “To ensure that aviation can continue to provide the economic and social benefits, it is crucial that we work together across the industry and hand in hand with ICAO and international health organisations to ensure a coordinated recovery while providing crucial reassurance to travellers and staff,” he said. “Around 60% of aviation jobs are at airports and local economies have been heavily affected by the reduction of activity and job losses due to the impact and effects of the pandemic.
“Governments have a key role to play to support airport jobs and incomes as the aviation industry is very important to the social and economic welfare of millions of people across the planet.
“Governments should provide targeted and direct financial support which should benefit the entire aviation ecosystem—airports, airlines, and their commercial partners—to ensure that the multiplier effect is felt across economies.”
Luis Felipe de Oliveira also discussed the prospects for a sustained, long term recovery.
“To bring jobs back, we need a sustainable recovery of traffic and revenues and vaccines, coupled with testing and the current health measures in place, present our best way out of this pandemic,” he said.
“Gains continue to be made across the world in vaccination campaigns and domestic markets in the United States and China continue to show positive signs, bringing renewed optimism for a more comprehensive return of air travel this year.
“Recovery, however, will happen in phases and will likely be uneven across the world. Markets with significant domestic traffic are not expected to recover to pre-COVID-19 levels before 2023 and markets with a significant share of international traffic will recover much more slowly in 2024 and 2025.
“Air transport has always been an industry based on the interdependence of all its parts. Tourism and air transport have a strong reciprocal and symbiotic relationship – we are going to need collaborative action on a scale not seen before.
“The recovery of air travel and tourism is crucial in the wider global economic recovery but, to succeed, it will need passengers to have confidence in the industry’s focus on their health and welfare so globally harmonised measures are crucial for a safe, secure, and sustainable restart and recovery of the aviation sector.
“Digital health passes will play a very important role in the restart of global travel. We need to establish an interoperable health data trust framework for safe border reopening and cross-border travel.”