Good morning from Geneva and welcome to IATA’s second virtual Fuel Forum, it’s good to have you with us today.
This is the second time that I have had the pleasure of addressing you this year. And I’d like to be able to say that in the 6 months since I spoke to you last, things are looking brighter for aviation. Sadly they are not.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues with no end in sight, so does the devastation to our industry as a result of border closures and travel restrictions.
International traffic has all but disappeared—we are only carrying about 10% of normal traffic levels. Domestic travel is picking up in some markets, but this is not enough to sustain the industry.
The near-term outlook has actually gotten darker, something I would not have believed possible just a few months ago.
Financially, 2020 will go down as the worst year in the history of aviation. Based on our June forecast, airlines are expected to lose $84.3 billion in 2020 – that’s a loss of $37.54 per passenger from a profit of $5.70 per passenger in 2019. By the way, there is much more downside risk to that forecast than upside potential.
Airlines are doing all they can to cut costs and we continue to support them in their efforts. In the area of fuel alone, IATA has helped facilitate a reduction of over US$700 million, among other measures through numerous fuel fee & tax reduction campaigns.
For the fuel infrastructure, we are seeing sharp increases in unit costs, triggered by massively reduced fuel volumes. It is of the utmost importance that all participants in the fuel supply chain contribute to avoiding such increases.
But despite all that has been done, it’s still not enough. Airlines can’t cut costs fast enough to make up for the impact of not being able to do business.
For the second half of the year we expect, on average, for airlines to burn through cash at about $300,000 per minute for a total of $77 billion. And that’s on top of the $51 billion cash burn in the second quarter.
I want to emphasize that we know this is not just an airline problem. All our industry partners are suffering from the same lack of demand, and that includes airports and ANSPs, aircraft manufacturers and ground handlers and of course, fuel suppliers.
The point that I want to get across is that the enormity of what is happening to aviation has consequences that go far beyond the industry itself. And financial sustainability is not something the industry can necessarily achieve on its own in such a long and deep crisis.
Therefore, I ask you today to join our call to Governments to be actively involved in supporting the entire sector’s finances through this unimaginably difficult time.
Ten percent of global economic activity is related to travel and tourism. That depends on connectivity. So, supporting our industry in these challenging times is an investment worth making.
Only a financially viable industry will be able to accelerate a broad economic recovery when borders re-open. And, as I see it today, the sector will not be ready to do that without more government support.
With that, I will turn you over to our moderator Alexander Küper. I wish you a successful Fuel Forum and thank you for your contributions over the few days.