The global airline industry has shed more than 350,000 jobs in the past six months, according to new research exploring the impact of the new crown virus pandemic on the once-booming airline industry, and more painful news is brewing. Rowland Hayler, co-founder of Live Aero, a consultancy, says the total number of job cuts could be closer to 500,000.
These include about 25,000 jobs that do not qualify for major categories of airlines, aerospace manufacturers and airports, and another 95,000 that are at risk but have not yet been officially announced. Five Aero compiled the study.
At the same time, Hayler said, Asian companies and airports around the world appear to be curbing the total number of layoffs by suppressing wage cuts, or at least not ingesting them.
The study shows that more than 80 per cent of the job cuts announced so far are in Europe and North America, although these two regions account for only 49 per cent of passenger traffic in 2019.
While layoffs are likely to be higher because the largest aircraft manufacturers and many major suppliers are located in the West, losses in the Asia-Pacific region are particularly small, with more than half of the job cuts coming from Australia and New Zealand, Hayler said.
Asian companies may be more reluctant to lay off workers, he said, but the lack of data from China and elsewhere is a major problem. Leading airlines such as Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines have yet to announce permanent job cuts, although they are expected to announce job cuts in the coming weeks and months as they accept government retention plans.
“This crisis is causing huge long-term damage to the airline industry,” Hayler said. “Given the importance of the industry in supporting a variety of other businesses, job cuts in the aviation sector are also a disaster for the economy as a whole.”