Several states have already stepped in to help airlines hammered by the travel slump, with the United States offering US$58 billion in aid, Singapore announcing support for aviation and Australia easing competition rules.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and its members yesterday renewed their call on governments to take urgent measures to ensure that vital air cargo supply lines remain open, efficient and effective.
"Travel restrictions and evaporating demand mean that, aside from cargo, there is nearly no passenger business", he said.
AirAsia, the region's biggest budget carrier, was the latest airline to announce sweeping cuts to its schedule in response to the deepening crisis caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
"At least for the short term, as long as passenger flights are disrupted, cargo operations are expected to help some airlines make up for some of the losses", said Um Kyung-a, an analyst at Shinyoung Securities Co.in Seoul.
"Many airlines have been paying out more in refunds than they have received in new booking revenues", de Juniac, a former head of Air France-KLM, said.
The coronavirus crisis has ravaged the travel industry and grounded numerous world's planes, prompting governments to take previously unthinkable steps to prevent bankruptcies, ranging from state handouts to temporarily halting competition rules.
Air Canada, Aeromexico, Austrian, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Iberia, Korean, LATAM Lufthansa, Qantas, Scoot, Swiss and many other carriers have made some passenger aircraft in their fleets available for chartered cargo operations.
Around half the world's air cargo normally travels in the bellies of passenger planes rather than dedicated freighters, so the cancellation of passenger flights has led to a sharp reduction in cargo capacity.
The U.S. Senate handed a business assist package deal, half within the type of grants to cowl some 750,000 staff' paychecks.
In a win for labour, companies receiving funds can not lay off employees before September 30 or change collective bargaining agreements. President Donald Trump has promised to signal it. The carrier was struggling to fill planes with passengers even before the virus outbreak as traffic slid in the second half of previous year with the anti-government protests in Hong Kong, its base.
The passenger travel industry has been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic, with Australia's Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd on Thursday announcing plans to cut 6,000 travel agent roles globally, either temporarily or permanently.
United Airlines Holdings said capacity would drop by 68% in April and Alaska Air Group said it would cut its schedule by 70% in April and May. American Airlines suspended its dividend, drew down a $400 million credit line and secured an additional loan.
In a desperate bid to preserve some revenues and keep global supply chains operating, US Delta Air Lines, Air New Zealand and Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways joined a list of carriers that have turned passenger planes into cargo-only transporters. "We hope that this temporary measure will also support airlines' ability to again compete with each other on these routes once the pandemic crisis has passed", Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Chairman Rod Sims said.