Malaysia’s aviation industry may lose up to RM14 bil, warns IATA

The International Air Transport Association says there has been no decisive and effective action to support the aviation industry in Malaysia as yet.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will likely see its passenger demand reduced by 39% this year with losses in revenue reaching US$3.317 billion (RM14.45 billion) if severe travel restrictions due to Covid-19 last for three months, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said.

IATA regional vice-president for Asia-Pacific Conrad Clifford said 169,700 potential jobs would be impacted by the travel restrictions and risked US$3.799 billion (RM16.55 billion) in the gross domestic product (GDP).

The Asia-Pacific region as a whole, he said, would see passenger demand decreased 37% this year with losses in revenue totalling US$88 billion (RM383.35 billion).

“While each country will see a varying impact on passenger demand, the net result is the same. Their airlines are fighting for survival, they are facing a liquidity crisis and they will need financial relief urgently to sustain their businesses through this volatile situation,” he said in a statement today.

Clifford said governments needed to ensure that airlines have sufficient cash flow to tide them over this period by providing direct financial support, facilitating loans, loan guarantees and support for the corporate bond market.

He said taxes, levies and airport and aeronautical charges for the industry should be fully or partially waived.

He said Australia, New Zealand and Singapore have announced a substantial package of measures to support their aviation industry but others in the region, including India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Thailand, have yet to take decisive and effective action.

“Jobs as well as the gross domestic product supported by the industry are at risk.

“It is critical that these countries still have a viable aviation sector to support the economic recovery, connect manufacturing hubs and support tourism when the Covid-19 crisis is over,” he said, adding that the respective governments needed to act now before it is too late.

Apart from Malaysia, IATA is also expecting passenger demand in Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines to decrease.

Meanwhile, Thailand, Pakistan, South Korea, and Sri Lanka would see the largest impact.