Emirates, Etihad Say 85% of Airlines to Collapse Without Aid

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Two of the Middle East’s biggest airlines are warning that 85% of carriers globally face insolvency by the end of the year without government intervention.

Passenger demand won’t return to pre-crisis levels until 2023, Emirates President Tim Clark and Tony Douglas, chief executive officer of Etihad Airways, warned during a joint briefing with the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council.

The coronavirus has wiped out demand across the world, including the neighboring hubs of Dubai and Abu Dhabi that serve as homes for Emirates, the industry’s largest long-haul carrier, and Etihad, respectively.

Lasting restrictions such as two-week quarantines,testing and social distancing will impact demand and operations, they said, adding that the way passengers fly will be different until an effective vaccine becomes widely available.

Dubai-owned Emirates received assurances forgovernment support last month.

Airlines have been hit with an unprecedented near-total shutdown of travel as the health emergency sweeps across continents and governments close borders and order populations to stay at home. About 70% of global carrier capacity is idled and the industry stands to lose $314 billion in 2020 in ticket sales, according to the International Air Transport Association.

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