IATA urges Malaysia to prop up airlines to tide over Covid-19 pandemic

A Malaysia Airlines plane is parked at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang August 24, 2019. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana
A Malaysia Airlines plane is parked at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang August 24, 2019. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, April 24 — Malaysia is among priority countries in Asia Pacific that need to take action to support local airlines to survive the Covid-19 pandemic as the impact on the industry worsens, says the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The other countries are India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

IATA regional vice president for Asia-Pacific Conrad Clifford said urgent action from the government is needed such as direct financial support, loans, loan guarantees and support for the corporate bond market and tax relief.

He said the situation is deteriorating and airlines are in survival mode, facing a liquidity crisis with a US$61 billion cash burn in the second quarter.

“We have seen the first airline casualty in the region. There will be more casualties if governments do not step in urgently to ensure airlines have sufficient cash flow to tide them over this period,” he said in a note today. 

Clifford said providing support for airlines has a broader economic implication and jobs across many sectors would be impacted if airlines do not survive the crisis, pointing out that 11.2 million jobs in Asia-Pacific are at risk, including those that are dependent on the aviation industry such as travel and tourism.

“Airlines continue to perform an important role currently with the transport of essential goods, including medical supplies, and the repatriation of thousands of people stranded around the world by travel restrictions.

“After the Covid-19 pandemic is contained, governments will need airlines to support the economic recovery, connect manufacturing hubs and support tourism.

“That’s why they need to act now — and urgently — before it is too late,” he added. — Bernama

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