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02 Apr 2020 | 13:17

IATA calls for rapid help to help Africa, Middle East airlines

(Sharecast News) - Losses for African and Middle East airlines due to the coronavirus had risen to $23bn and governments needed to intervene rapidly, latest analysis from the industry body showed on Thursday. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) repeated its call for co-ordinated action from governments in the form of direct financial support, loans, loan guarantees, support for the corporate bond market and tax relief.

The association said there were signs some governments in the region were starting to providing some financial and tax reliefs.

These included deferral of aircraft lease payments by the government of Cabo Verde, extension of VAT refund payment dates by Saudi Arabia and positive considerations for financial relief from governments including Jordan, Rwanda, Angola and the UAE.

Middle Eastern carriers have now lost $19bn in revenue this year, up from $7.2bn on March 11, and African airlines' losses remained at $4bn, IATA said.

"Travel restrictions and evaporating demand mean that, aside from cargo, there is almost no passenger business. Failure by Governments to act now will make this crisis longer and more painful," said IATA regional vice-president Muhammad Al Bakri.

"Airlines have demonstrated their value in economic and social development in Africa and the Middle East and governments need to prioritize them in rescue packages."
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