More than six million aviation jobs are at risk in the Middle East and Africa as the war against COVID-19 rages on.

That is according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) who has reiterated the devastating impact lockdown measures have on jobs in the sector.

It says 1.7 million Middle East jobs will be lost in aviation and industries supported by aviation in 2020. This is close to half of the region’s 3.3 million aviation-related employment. IATA said 4.5 million African jobs will be lost in all of aviation-related sectors this year. This is well over half of the region’s 7.7 million aviation-related employment.

“This latest research highlights the urgency of restarting aviation in the Middle East,” said Muhammad Albakri, IATA’s regional VP for Africa and the Middle East. “Normally aviation contributes $213 billion to the region’s GDP. Closing borders has reduced this to $108 billion. That loss has severe consequences, not least of which is the loss of 1.7 million jobs.”

“Quarantine measures are crippling the industry’s recovery and hampering its ability to support social and economic development,” said Albakri.

According to IATA’s research, 88 percent of travellers would not even consider travelling if quarantine measures were in place at their destination.

Testing, meanwhile, is a better solution in the eyes of the traveller. IATA’s survey found that 72 percent of UAE residents agreed they should not need to quarantine if they provide a negative COVID-19 test.

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