Air traffic resumes slowly in Europe; jobs remain threatened

Paris. After the blow caused by the Covid-19 pandemic to airlines, traffic timidly resumes in Europe as borders are opened, but thousands of jobs remain threatened. A very slow recovery According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA, for its acronym in English) restrictions on movement and the fear of travelers will cause traffic to resume first in domestic markets, then in the continental and finally of the fourth quarter in the intercontinental ones. But it will be necessary to wait until 2023 to recover the level that was in 2019. The countries of the European Union (EU) had to decide on Tuesday to reopen their borders to a fifteen nations, including Uruguay, from July 1 . The United States and China are not on the list with conditions. In Europe, in the week of June 15-21, 7,706 flights were made on average per day (-77.9% compared to the same period in 2019), mainly by Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, Wizz Air, Wideroe, DHL and Air France, according to the Eurocontrol organization. The French Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport registered the heaviest traffic, followed by Frankfurt, Schiphol (Amsterdam), Heathrow (London) and Istanbul. Globally, passenger traffic bottomed out in April, with a drop of 94.3% (measured in kilometers of paid passengers or RPK) compared to the same month last year. The main destinations in Europe Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, was at the top of the list of airline ticket reservations in Europe in the first fortnight of June, ahead of Paris, Amsterdam, Athens, Rome, Madrid, Frankfurt, Vienna , Barcelona and London, according to data released on Monday by the specialized agency Forwardkeys. A year ago, the British capital was the main destination for reservations. This drop reflects the effect of the quarantine measures decreed, according to the firm. “Countries that have enacted quarantine measures have seen traffic drops similar to a total flight ban,” said Brian Pearce, chief economist at IATA. The airline organization advocates the establishment in airports and companies of sanitary measures (mask, taking temperatures, health declaration …). The worst is yet to come? Government aid “has saved thousands of jobs and allowed companies to maintain connections. But I fear the worst is yet to come,” said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA Vice President for Europe, in mid-June. Usually, “the companies have the summer season to build financial reserves for the more difficult winter months. But this year” there will be no summer reserves, “he warned. The airlines will record net losses of $ 21.5 billion ( 19,145 million euros) in 2020, compared to a net profit of 6,500 million in 2019, which could threaten “6-7 million jobs linked to air traffic in Europe,” according to IATA. The cuts in Europe on Friday Air France will present the impact on employment of its “reconstruction plan” which will go through a drastic reduction in internal connections and will translate, according to the unions, into the elimination of millions of jobs. For his part, Guillaume Faury, the Airbus chief executive, who has cut production rates by a third, has warned that the group could be faced with “bitter” and “difficult” employment decisions “before the end of July.” a week, the Swiss airport services group Swissport announced the abolition of more than 4,000 jobs in the United Kingdom alone. Jet Aviation, an interior planning company, is cutting about 200 jobs at its Basel-Mulhouse Franco-Swiss airport base. Swiss duty free store operator Dufry is reducing its staff costs from 20% to 35%. Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines are closing the German subsidiary of their joint venture Sunexpress, threatening 1,200 jobs. The Austrian arm of Level, the British low-cost long-distance subsidiary IAG, has ceased operations.