In this March 18, 2020 photo, Southern China Airlines flight from Guangzhou, China, flies past the sun as it arrives at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, British Columbia. (JONATHAN HAYWARD / THE CANADIAN PRESS VIA AP)
LONDON - Global airlines cannot afford to refund cancelled flights because of the coronavirus crisis, said the head of the industry’s representative body IATA, and carriers are issuing vouchers instead as they conserve cash to survive.
Global airlines also said 25 million jobs across the world could be at risk from the coronavirus travel downtur
“The key element for us is to avoid running out of cash so refunding the cancelled ticket for us is almost unbearable financially speaking,” IATA Director General Alexandre De Juniac told an online news conference on Tuesday.
Airlines have been criticised by consumer groups for breaking rules over providing refunds within set time limits.
IATA also said that one-third of global airline employees have either been furloughed or lost their jobs.
Global airlines said 25 million jobs across the world could be at risk from the coronavirus travel downturn, as the industry’s representative body launched a plea for urgent government support amid warnings that carriers are running out of cash.
Global air travel slumped by 70 percent at the beginning of the second quarter, the IATA said, with European flights down 90 percent.
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