The Asia-Pacific region as a whole would see passenger demand decreased 37 per cent this year with losses in revenue totalling US$88 billion. – File photo/AFP Relax

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will likely see its passenger demand reduced by 39 per cent this year with losses in revenue reaching US$3.317 billion (US$1=RM4.36) if severe travel restrictions due to COVID-19 lasted for three months, International Air Transport Association (IATA) said.

Its regional vice president Asia-Pacific Conrad Clifford said 169,700 potential jobs would be impacted by the travel restrictions and risked US$3.799 billion in the gross domestic product (GDP).

The Asia-Pacific region as a whole he said, would see passenger demand decreased 37 per cent this year with losses in revenue totalling US$88 billion.

“While each country will see a varying impact on passenger demand, the net result is the same. Their airlines are fighting for survival, they are facing a liquidity crisis and they will need financial relief urgently to sustain their businesses through this volatile situation,” he said in a statement today.

He said governments needed to ensure that airlines have sufficient cash flow to tide them over this period by providing direct financial support, facilitating loans, loan guarantees and support for the corporate bond market.

Clifford said taxes, levies and airport and aeronautical charges for the industry should be fully or partially waived.

He said Australia, New Zealand and Singapore have announced a substantial package of measures to support their aviation industry but others in the region including India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Thailand have yet to take decisive and effective action.

“Jobs, as well as the gross domestic product (GDP) supported by the industry are at risk.

“It is critical that these countries still have a viable aviation sector to support the economic recovery, connect manufacturing hubs and support tourism when the COVID-19 crisis is over,” he said, adding, the respective governments needed to act now before it is too late.

Apart from Malaysia, IATA is also expecting passenger demand in Cambodia to decreased by 34 per cent with a revenue loss of US$677 million, Vietnam (-34 per cent, US$3.404 billion revenue loss) and the Philippines (-36 per cent, US$3.507 billion revenue loss).

Meanwhile, Thailand (-40 per cent, US$6.516 billion revenue loss), Pakistan (-40 per cent, US$1.438 billion revenue loss), South Korea (-40 per cent, US$8.432 billion revenue loss) and Sri Lanka (-44 per cent, US$562 million revenue loss) would see the largest impact.