The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called on the Government of Tunisia to urgently provide financial relief measures for the aviation industry in order to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on the nation’s economy.
According to IATA, revenues generated by airlines in the Tunisian market will fall by $0.6 billion in 2020, 47% below 2019 levels. That puts at risk 92,700 Tunisian jobs and $1.2 billion of Tunisia’s GDP, which is generated by aviation and its supply chain as well as air transport-dependent tourism.
Muhammad Albakri, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East, said: “Tunisia’s economy is heavily dependent on tourism. Air transport is essential in providing connectivity and supporting tourism, which is a key economic driver for the country. The government has introduced broad taxation-related relief measures but given the central role that air transport and tourism play in Tunisia’s economy, special attention must be placed on providing aviation-specific relief.”
IATA urged the government to kindly consider aviation-specific financial relief measures such as direct financial support to passenger and cargo carriers, financial relief on airport and air traffic control (ATC) charges and taxes, reduction, waiver or deferral of government-imposed taxes and fees to ensure that the sector is capable of driving the recovery.
“As we look to restart the industry, we call on the government to provide the necessary relief to ensure smooth and quick recovery for the air transport and tourism sectors as they are key drivers in Tunisia’s economy. We also look to the Government of Tunisia to facilitate expediting the needed implementation and modernization of the airline distribution programs and mechanisms within the air transport sector. Allowing for modernization across various processes will mean faster recovery and greater competitiveness for the Tunisian market which has always been one of the leading tourism nations in Africa and the Middle East,” Albakri stated.