Global alliances call for “extraordinary support”

The three global airline alliances—oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance—have jointly called on governments around the world to “evaluate all possible means” to support the industry amid the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance have urged governments and stakeholders to help airlines by introducing “exceptional measures” such as slot relief and airport and overflight fee reductions.

In a statement, the alliances said they strongly support IATA’s request for regulators to suspend slot usage rules for the northern hemisphere’s summer 2020 season in response to the “extraordinary reductions” in passenger demand.

The alliances, which together represent almost 60 airlines around the world that contribute more than half of global capacity, welcomed moves by some regulators to suspended slot regulations temporarily, but called on them to consider extending the suspensions for the entire operating season.

SkyTeam CEO and managing director Kristin Colvile said: “The human and financial impact that the COVID-19 outbreak is having on the aviation industry is unprecedented.

“SkyTeam, with its alliance partners, and on behalf of member airlines, is urging all involved institutions and industry stakeholders to face these extraordinary times with exceptional measures. This includes action such as slot relief, airport and overflight fees reduction.”

Star Alliance CEO Jeffrey Goh added it was “critical” for governments and stakeholders to avoid further burdens on airlines and step up measures “that will ensure the future of the travel industry.”

IATA has estimated the impact of COVID-19 coronavirus on the airline industry will be up to $113 billion in lost revenues.

However, the forecasted revenue loss scenario does not include travel restrictions recently imposed by the US and other governments. US restrictions on passengers from Europe—including the UK and Ireland as of March 14—will place more pressure on the huge transatlantic market.

Photo credit: SkyTeam