The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged the Saudi government for more financial support to its aviation sector, lauding it for introducing broad economic relief measures in excess of $32 billion in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saudi Arabia has “provided support for air transport by suspending the airport slot use rules for the summer season and extending licenses and certifications for crew, trainers and examiners,” IATA said in a statement on Wednesday.
It urged the Saudi government “to build on this and implement specific financial relief measures for aviation to ensure that the sector will be capable of driving the recovery.”
IATA said the government should consider direct financial support to passenger and cargo carriers, financial relief on airport and air traffic control (ATC) charges and taxes, in addition to reduction, waiver or deferral of government-imposed taxes and fees.
“Saudi Arabia has announced financial relief measures for sectors affected by COVID-19, but not specifically for aviation. Given the industry’s role in social and economic development as well as achieving the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, it is important the government prioritizes aviation and provide urgent financial relief," said IATA Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East Muhammad Albakri.
“Without a viable air transport sector, we can expect a slow and painful economic recovery. Before the crisis, Saudi Arabia was moving at full speed and achieving tangible results in modernization, infrastructure development and economic growth,” said Albakri.
He added that fully supporting aviation would have a positive impact on the Kingdom’s economy after the pandemic is over.
IATA estimates that revenues generated by airlines in the Saudi market will fall by $7.2 billion in 2020, 35 percent below 2019 levels.
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