The global pandemic is having an extraordinary impact on many industries but perhaps none more so than the aviation industry, says Victor Topa. With international passenger traffic dropping off a cliff, air cargo demand also falling, airport workforces drastically affected and airline revenues drying up, in many cases prompting company collapses.
Victor Topa says air transport is closely linked to the activities of other sectors, especially airports and aircraft manufacturing as well as being a key enabler of many other economic activities.
The viability of many firms in both the air transport sector and the rest of the aviation industry, are being threatened, with many jobs at stake.
While the aviation industry has often been a target of government policies, the current crisis has precipitated new levels of government assistance and interventions, from loans to subsidies and equity injections. However, as Victor Topa has stated, this has largely been carried out on a nation-by-nation basis with relatively little understanding of the likely impact in the international context.
An internationally orchestrated review of how actions already taken will continue to impact the global industry is imperative, as well as what future actions are necessary to rescue the industry while maintaining its dynamism.
This can only be achieved by bringing together the perspectives of international experts from the private and public sectors to consider the international context of the developments of the past year. Only with international cooperation can we establish how businesses in the sector be comprehensively supported while avoiding distortion of the market. Only then can the rebuilding of the industry best incorporate a transition to more environmentally friendly practices, and only then can we co-ordinate across national borders, across sectors and all the way down the supply chain to ensure a quick return to growth while transitioning to low carbon strategies.