IAG calls for ‘Digital Health Passes’ as company reports operating loss of €7,426 million.
International Airlines Group (IAG) has reported a 2020 operating loss of €7,426 million compared to an operating profit of €2,613 million in 2019. The parent company of Spain-based Iberia and Vueling airlines, Irish operator Aer Lingus and British Airways, has called for a clear roadmap from international Governments on safely reopening the skies and a return to pre-COVID-19 levels of air travel.
In a statement, the Group outlined the devastating impact the health pandemic has had on its business with passenger capacity for 2020 standing at 33.5 per cent of 2019 levels and government restrictions and quarantine measures continuing to adversely impact operations.
Commenting on the results, Luis Gallego, IAG’s Chief Executive Officer, said, ‘Our results reflect the serious impact that COVID-19 has had on our business. We have taken effective action to preserve cash, boost liquidity and reduce our cost base…’
He called for a collaborative effort in returning air travel to pre-COVID-19 levels saying, ‘The aviation industry stands with governments in putting public health at the top of the agenda. Getting people travelling again will require a clear roadmap for unwinding current restrictions when the time is right.’
‘We know there is pent-up demand for travel and people want to fly. Vaccinations are progressing well, and global infections are going in the right direction. We’re calling for international common testing standards and the introduction of digital health passes to reopen our skies safely.’
The call for a roadmap out of current restrictions comes as EU leaders met online today in the second of a 2-day summit to discuss the pandemic, including the issue of vaccine passports. While all member states are in agreement on vaccination certification, consensus on a plan has yet to be reached.
Member states with a heavy reliance on tourism are favouring the implementation of EU-wide vaccine certification to be introduced as soon as possible in order to take advantage of the coming summer period. Greece, Spain, Austria, Cyprus and Malta support the introduction of a ‘vaccine passport’. However, concerns have been raised by France and Germany, particularly in regard to whether those who have been vaccinated can still pass the virus on to others.
Speaking on the issue of vaccine certification on the video conference, President of the EU Commission, Ursula Von Der Leyen said, ‘The decision on what you are able to do potentially with such a vaccination certificate is to be decided particularly within each country. But at the EU level, I believe we should use them to ensure the functioning of the Single Market.’