Five months after the world seemingly stopped due to the rapid spread of coronavirus disease, the aviation industry continues to suffer the severe effects as different nations’ borders are still closed. At the same time, the travel ban in various areas is still in effect.
As the coronavirus’s primary industry directly hit, it hasn’t looked much prettier for the airline companies in the time being. In the U.S. alone, just as when the labor market has shown progress in its recovery from the economic downfall, airline workers’ jobs have been placed in peril as the financial constraint has been evident within their field.
According to Bloomberg’s statistics, there are estimated 400,000 airline workers that have been “fired, furloughed, or told they might lose their jobs” with the impact brought by COVID-19.
A large fraction of the 400,000 job loss figure covers pilots and cabin crew, whose health has been put on a considerable risk owing to their work in the front line and the likes of health workers, both of which are exposed to a higher chance of contracting the virus.
Among the carriers that announced repatriation and unpaid leave programs are airline giants Qantas Airways Ltd., Emirates Airline, British Airways, and Deutsche Lufthansa AG.
American companies are also keen to follow suit once the ban on job cuts is lifted come September. Several airlines, including American Airlines Group Inc., Delta Air Lines INc., and United Airlines Holdings Inc., hinted on a possible reduction to 35,000-plus employees who could potentially surpass 100,000 when the year ends.
“We do recognize that there is fairly significant spillover” into the economy from the pandemic, David Lebovitz said, a global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management. “You’re not paying for gas in your car, and then you’re not going out and buying a sandwich at lunchtime.”
“At the beginning of April, we saw the sharpest, deepest drop in demand in history, far worse than 9/11 or the Great Recession or any other stress test scenario that anyone had modeled. And near the end of the quarter, just as optimism about a recovery was beginning to build, we watched demand fade once again as Covid-19 spiked in the Sun Belt.”United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby
According to the International Air Transport Association, the job loss toll connected to the industry includes aircraft manufacturers, engine makers, travel agencies, and airports, which could reach 25 million.