The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has again called on governments worldwide to provide additional financial support to aviation.

The reiteration follows as the Covid-19 lockdown of air travel, especially international flights, is continuing with border restrictions and quarantine measures.

The current conditions have already led to a significant drop in passenger demand and air traffic.

According to IATA, passenger numbers for travel to, from and within Europe are expected to drop at least 70% to only 340 million travellers.

Last year, around 1.2 billion passengers travelled in the region.

Speaking at the Portugal Air Summit, IATA Europe 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.”

IATA also said that governments must act soon on establishing guidelines and approaches to using Covid-19 testing without quarantine.

It noted that the European Union’s Council Recommendation has failed to come up with clear settings on the same.

A survey on travellers conducted by IATA has shown that there is strong support for testing.

Schvartzman added: “Quarantine of any length will continue the economic destruction of Covid-19.

“Testing must replace, not shorten, quarantine. And testing costs should be borne by governments, in line with the WHO’s International Health Regulations.

“Swift and consistent action from European governments are essential if the year-end travel season is to be saved in any form.”