Post Covid-19: Calls for economic recovery plans for aviation industry takes central stage

Following the devastating effects of the dreaded Coronavirus COVID 19 pandemic on global aviation, the race to savage the beleaguered industry from the shackles of the economic imposed on it by virtue of the pandemic is gradually taking place.

Airlines, the tourism sector and associated industries are mulling over ways the airlines can be assisted to return to the skies, after most of them have been hard hit due to lack of ticket sales following the .

Here in Nigeria, the umbrella body of airline operators, the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) is championing the need for the to begin to think of how the fragile aviation industry in the country can be recapitalise to ensure jobs are saved once the world conquer the Covid-19 .

The AON, while reeling out measures to stimulate the ailing industry, however salute the ’s courage to control the spread of the Corona in the country.

“While we do not throw caution to the air over the severity of the COVID19 Pandemic, we are worried that the pandemic restrictions have led to an almost complete shutdown of economic activities around the country, closure of Abuja/Lagos airports and of aviation activities which are critical drivers and catalysts of the Nigerian economy.” the body said in Lagos.

The operating airlines enthused that “While we totally agree with the wisdom of the to control the pandemic through the sit at home order and putting the health and life of Nigerians first, we must also recall the saying that; “While you are crying you must also see ahead.”

Thus the International Air Transport Association (IATA) also noted that the COVID-19 will see airline passenger revenues loss by $314 billion in 2020; putting at risk 25 million jobs that are dependent on aviation globally.

Also, as a of the COVID19, Nigeria aviation has an exposure of about 251,000 direct job losses according to IATA including the various parastatals, Ground Handling and support  Service Providers, etc.; as the failure of airlines will obviously bring down the support structure as well.

It explained, “Furthermore, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected that Nigeria’s economy will recede by 3% in 2020; leading to the worst in 30 years according to the April 2020 World Economic Outlook Report recently released in Washington USA.”

According to AON, the is a double blow for the Nigerian economy due to the drop in the price of oil which is the mainstay of the country to below $15, and the negative impact of the “COVID19 STAY AT HOME order that has virtually suspended all economic activities.

From the fore going therefore, it is clear that the Nigerian economy and indeed the aviation industry requires urgent government articulation of plans if the jobs of our youths must be preserved post COVID19, it said.

The body posits that to ensure the quick recovery of the Nigerian economy after the lockdown or pandemic therefore, there is need for the government to begin to put in place measures that will guarantee the survival of airlines which is the main catalyst and a pivot to the quick recovery of the Nigerian economy.

IATA recently announced that on a global basis, an estimated emergency aid of up to $200 billion is required for airlines to recover from the impact of the .

“In response to this reality therefore, it is a known fact that Governments around the world have taken the bull by the horn and taken the by putting aviation in the forefront of their country’s recovery and putting in place support for the sector as a major tool to jumpstart their economy.”

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