The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called for continued financial support for aviation as the shutdown of air transport continues across various parts of the world.

The association also reiterated the urgent need to reopen borders with Covid-19 testing.

In a statement, the IATA said that border restrictions, and especially quarantine measures, have undermined one of the cornerstones of European development, that being the free movement of people.

According to IATA, passenger demand is expected to plummet at least 70% this year, compared to last year’s travel to, from, and within Europe.

It said that only 340 million travellers in the region are expected to fly this year compared to the 1.2 billion that flew last year.

A research by Air Transport Action Group suggests that around 4.8 million jobs directly connected with air transport are currently at risk due to the collapse in air travel. The pandemic has also threatened millions of jobs in the travel and tourism industry.

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IATA urged governments across the world to work together in implementing a plan to restart the industry, which would need additional financial support to get through the winter.

IATA Europe’s regional vice-president Rafael Schvartzman said: “Airlines are burning through cash at the rate of $300,000 a minute in the second half of 2020.

“And much of the government support that has enabled them to remain viable is running out. The prospect of catastrophic job losses is very real. Continued financial support is desperately needed until the industry can get back on its feet.”

Meanwhile, IATA welcomed the recent overflight agreement between the Kingdom of Jordan and State of Israel that allows for flights to cross over both countries’ airspace.

This agreement is expected to enable commercial airlines to fly through the Israel-Jordan corridor, bringing down flight times and minimising fuel burn and CO2 emissions.

It will cut around 106km eastbound and 118km westbound on flights operating from the Gulf States and Asia to European and North American regions.

Previously, airlines flew around Israel when flying east or west over Middle East airspace.