IATA Calls On Middle East Governments to Support Airlines During Crisis
By Harvey Chipkin
The International Air Transport Association called on Middle Eastern governments to provide support to airlines to help them manage the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Muhammad Ali Albakri, IATA’s vice president for Africa and the Middle East, said the region depends on air connectivity, and support from governments will help the airlines get through this period. He said IATA was not calling for state bailouts, but that governments could help airlines with their operating costs – like airport fees. Albakri said he did not expect other regions to criticize support given to airlines due to the crisis. Significant additional revenue is at risk for the Middle East carriers if the travel restrictions spread further in the Asia/ Pacific, he said. Middle East airlines have lost an estimated $100 million so far due to the epidemic, according to Albakri.