American Airlines jets sit at Washington’s Reagan National Airport in Washington. File/ Reuters
Global airlines have revised traffic forecasts lower, sector federation IATA said on Tuesday, warning that hundreds of thousands of jobs are at risk without more state aid.
The International Air Transport Association downgraded its 2020 traffic forecast following a “dismal end to the summer travel season” in the northern hemisphere and now expects it to be 66 per cent below the level in 2019, a statement said.
IATA’s previous forecast was for a drop of 63 per cent, but that was before government reimposed travel restrictions in August and the outlook faltered for the rest of the year, it added.
The association, which represents 290 airlines, said that August traffic, which it measures in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs, plunged by 75.3 per cent from the same period in 2019.
A resurgence in coronavirus cases since then and more government restrictions to deal with them, has prevented a strong rebound.
“A much slower improvement is now expected,” the statement added.
“Absent additional government relief measures and a reopening of borders, hundreds of thousands of airline jobs will disappear,” said chief executive Alexandre de Juniac.
He called for a international programme of COVID-19 tests prior to a flight’s departure to give governments the confidence to open borders and passengers confidence to board planes again.
A breakdown of the industry data indicated that domestic flights were attracting more passengers than international services, though in countries such as Australia and Japan, even domestic flights were way down.
The IATA has estimated that global traffic will not reach pre-pandemic levels before 2024, and that the sector will earn $419 million less this year owing to the pandemic.
Global markets fall: Global equity benchmarks slipped and government bonds inched higher Tuesday as investors remained hesitant ahead of the first US presidential debate and watched for progress in talks for further fiscal stimulus in Washington.
With time running out to change minds or influence undecided voters, the stakes are high as the main two White House candidates take the stage tonight, five weeks before the Nov. 3 election.
Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign has seized on a fresh line of attack on the eve of the debate with President Donald Trump - set for after the US market close - accusing the Republican incumbent of gaming the system to avoid paying his fair share of taxes.
Many see a Biden victory increasing the chances of further fiscal stimulus to counter the economic damage from the COVID-19 pandemic, judging such a scenario a boon for stocks.
MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.03% following broad declines in Europe and Asia. Among the sectors in negative territory were growth-sensitive banks , automakers and travel & leisure, all down 0.8%-1.5%.
US stocks inched lower in choppy trading on Tuesday after substantial gains a day earlier, with investors shifting their focus to the first presidential debate later in the day.
Eight of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were lower, with energy stocks and financials leading declines, as they gave back some of their gains from the previous session.
President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden will lock horns in their first 90-minute televised debate in Cleveland, with the election now just five weeks away. Polls show Biden leading Trump nationally and in a number of key battleground states.
Goldman Sachs analysts said a victory for Biden in the election, along with the Democratic party controlling the Senate and the House of Representatives, would be slightly beneficial to profits for S&P 500 firms through 2024.
Among sectors, a stronger “green energy” push under a Biden administration could support alternative energy stocks, while a Trump victory could spell additional relief for companies that benefited from the president’s corporate tax cuts.
Data showed US consumer confidence rebounded more than expected in September as households’ views of the labor market improved.
At 11:27am, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 129.28 points, or 0.47%, at 27,454.78, the S&P 500 was down 9.35 points, or 0.28%, at 3,342.25. The Nasdaq Composite was up 5.18 points, or 0.05%, at 11,122.71.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.86-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.19-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq. The S&P index recorded six new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 51 new highs and 23 new lows
US benchmark 10-year notes last rose 2/32 in price to yield 0.6561%, from 0.663% late on Monday.
The dollar index fell 0.05%, with the euro up 0.27% to $1.1695. Oil prices slipped as investors remained hesitant to take on risk.
US crude dropped 1.38% to $40.04 per barrel and Brent was at $42.28, down 0.35% on the day.
Gold rose to its highest in a week on Tuesday as the dollar weakened and hopes rose for an additional fiscal stimulus for the American economy, ahead of the first US presidential debate.
Spot gold gained 0.5% to $1,889.85 per ounce at 10:34am while US gold futures climbed 0.7% to $1,895.70.