The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has lowered its forecast for air transport activity for the Middle East in 2020, indicating a recovery than expected, according to “Reuters”.
The union said, “It is expected that the number of travelers to and from the Middle East will decrease by 70 percent, as their percentage in the whole of 2020 will reach 30 percent only from 2019 levels.”
He stressed that this is much less than the 45 per cent that was expected last July, noting that in terms of numbers, the Middle East is expected to witness 60 million passengers in 2020 compared to 203 million in 2019, and it is not expected to return to levels. 2019 before late 2024.
The International Air Transport Association confirmed that expectations indicate an increase in demand in the Middle East in 2021 to 45 percent, from 2019 levels, to reach 90 million passengers from, to, and within the region.
In addition, Cathay Pacific Airlines announced yesterday its intention to reduce its workforce by about a quarter and close one of its short-haul airlines, in an attempt to overcome the “devastating” effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Airlines have been hit hard across the world as the epidemic has reduced international travel, and they are facing a long, harsh winter after the failure of the recovery they were hoping to achieve.
Cathay Pacific, the national carrier in Hong Kong, published yesterday a plan to restructure the company that will result in the loss of 8,500 jobs in total, nearly a quarter of its workforce, and the disappearance of one of its airlines completely.
“The global pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on aviation, and the harsh reality is that we must fundamentally restructure the group in order to survive,” the company’s chief executive, Augustus Tang, said in a statement.
The company stated that 5,300 layoffs will take place among the company’s employees residing in Hong Kong with 600 others abroad, as the remaining losses will come from the employment freeze and the natural loss of jobs.
The plan includes halting operations of Cathay Dragon, the subsidiary that mainly operates short-haul flights within Asia. The company is seeking regulatory approval to operate some Dragon routes via Cathay Pacific aircraft and its low-cost airline HK Express.Bleak year
The employees expressed their dissatisfaction with the decisions, says Michael, one of the flight attendants in “Cathay Dragon”, in statements to “French”, “He was unable to log into his work account this morning, and therefore assumed that his job was canceled.”
“In a few years, when the virus is finally under control, it will be too late for me to reapply for this job,” said the 31-year-old, who requested that his first name be used.
Zuki Wong, president of the airline’s flight attendants ’union, said the employees were“ very disappointed. We are all very sad because the colleagues who were laid off are all dear to us. ”
The Hong Kong government backed major airline Cathay Pacific with a $ 5 billion taxpayer rescue package earlier this summer.
But Augustus, chief executive of the company, said, “The airline is losing up to two billion Hong Kong dollars” 260 million dollars “a month during the epidemic, which is simply unaffordable. The changes announced will reduce the liquidity loss by about 500 million HK dollars 65. One million dollars a month.
Airline revenues fell 80 percent in the first six months of the year, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), but they still had to cover fixed expenses that included crew wages, maintenance, fuel, airport fees, and now the cost of depositing aircraft in warehouses.
Repeated efforts to reassure people that travel is safe failed to make a big difference, while decisions to impose a 14-day quarantine on incoming passengers increased pressure on airlines.
The sector as a whole hopes to introduce airport screening systems that restore passenger confidence and reduce – if not completely eliminate – the need to impose quarantine measures on travelers.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong and Singapore announced last week that they are planning to establish what has become a so-called “travel bubble” that would allow unrestricted flights between them.
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