Dubai — Saudi Arabia and the UAE's aviation industries are suffering mounting revenue losses as travel restrictions related to COVID-19 reduce passenger traffic, the International Air Transport Association said on July 2.
The kingdom's estimated passenger revenue loss has risen to $7.4 billion amid a drop of 53% in passenger numbers, IATA said in a new report. In April, losses were estimated at $7.2 billion. It's still the hardest-hit in the Middle East.
"Government-imposed quarantine measures in 36 countries across Africa and the Middle East (AME) account for 40% of all quarantine measures globally," IATA said. "With over 80% of travelers unwilling to travel when quarantine is required, the impact of these measures is that countries remain in lockdown even if their borders are open." The report didn't specify which countries imposed strict quarantine measures.
Saudi Arabia suspended most passenger flights in March and allowed the return of domestic flights in June. It has also restricted the number of pilgrims visiting the kingdom for the annual Hajj pilgrimage season this month, which is likely to dent jet fuel demand.
In the UAE, the second-biggest Arab economy, the aviation industry is forecast to lose $7.1 billion in passenger revenue amid a 55% drop in passenger numbers, compared with the previous estimate of $6.8 billion, IATA said. IATA represents 290 airlines comprising 82% of global air traffic.
"It is critical that AME governments implement alternatives to quarantine measures," Muhammad Albakri, IATA's regional vice president for Africa and the Middle East, said.
"AME has the highest number of countries in the world with government-imposed quarantine measures on arriving passengers."