Another 26 million jobs could go in air travel-related tourism, with about 15 million more at risk in companies that sell goods and services into the air transport supply chain or to aviation industry workers.
Airline jobs could fall by more than a third, or 1.3 million, while economic activity supported by aviation could shrink 52%, translating to a loss of $1.8 trillion in global GDP.
The pandemic will have “far-reaching implications on the industry for many years,” according to the report, which highlights the extent to which the livelihoods of millions of workers rely on global air travel. That came to a near standstill at the height of coronavirus lockdowns in April and is expected to remain depressed for years to come.
“There have been reductions in passenger traffic caused by shocks in the past, but never a near total shutdown of the global system,” said the report, which predicts passenger numbers in 2020 will be less than half last year’s level.
Jobs cuts at major airlines and airports have already begun, reverberating through the supply chain to planemakers, parts suppliers, catering companies and construction firms, as less money is spent on buying new planes and infrastructure projects are put on hold.
Aviation companies will likely prefer to work with staff to lower wages in order to retain high-skilled employees who are expensive to hire and train, according to the report. “This can only last so long, however, and the Covid-19 impact has been so severe that there will still be a dramatic reduction in employment within the sector,” it added.
The decline in air traffic has also had a massive negative effect on tourism. Prior to the pandemic, around 58% of all tourists arrived at their destination by air.
“It is absolutely incumbent on governments to do whatever they can to help the sector get back on its feet so we can bring back those jobs and that economic activity,” Michael Gill, executive director of ATAG said in a statement. Gill called for certainty rather than “random quarantine declarations and constantly changing lists of acceptable and unacceptable destinations.”