Among all the impacted industries globally, aviation is in the forefront and probably the most affected in the current pandemic. As the world tries to battle COVID-19, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released a report, which forecasts that Indian aviation sector might be on the verge of losing approximately three million jobs.
Conrad Clifford, IATA’s regional vice president, Asia-Pacific, stated:
‘The situation is deteriorating. Airlines are in survival mode. There will be casualties if governments do not step in urgently to ensure that airlines have sufficient cash flow to tide them over through this period’
The report further stated that in India, that shall be a 47% drop in passenger demand, compared to last year. This figure corresponds to a reduction of a staggering 89 million passengers in 2020. In Asia-Pacific alone, about 11.2 million jobs in aviation sector are at risk due to the global aviation shutdown. Needless to say, if any airline in a region collapses, it not only affects the employees of the carrier, but also the travel and tourism industry in the respective area. According to Clifford, every airline job supports another twenty-four in the travel and tourism.
Vistara Airlines, a joint venture between Singapore International Airlines and the Tata Sons has already sent 30% of its 4000 employees on mandatory leave without pay between April 1 and April 14, 2020, to curb costs. On April 2, 2020, Air India, who is already struggling to stay afloat, announced a pay cut for all its employees for the next three months. The carrier’s crew is yet to receive 70% of their February wages.
Ground staff and people with little experience in departments like the customer service or cargo handling are also in danger of losing their jobs as the companies can do without them for now, given that passenger demand and flight loads are almost negligible.
Siddhartha Kumar, an aviation analyst, states:
‘With the existing job security (in Indian aviation sector), the industry will not be as attractive for job seekers as it used to be a few years ago.’
Various regional experts have also stated that Indian aviation may take as long as three years to recover to the 2019 level of business. In India, the commercial aviation has been suspended completely till May 3, 2020 in light of national shutdown. Even after May 3, passenger demand is expected to be minuscule. Given that fact that Air India has already been struggling, IndiGo Airlines having posted loss for financial year 2019-20, and GoAir being in the red too, it will take ample time for the Indian aviation sector to see sustainable profits.
What do you think of the situation of Indian Aviation? Who will be hurt the most in these testing times? Let us know in the comments!