As a result, airline operations came to a standstill, posting reductions of almost a triple-digit magnitude. Some players like Austrian Airlines or Brussels Airlines decided to suspend all operations early in the pandemic. Others like Air Canada or Lufthansa retained a limited number of domestic flights, and international operations one can count on the fingers of one hand. Even though airlines are indeed the largest single component of the ecosystem, at least from a turnover perspective, they are by no means sufficient to ensure that the industry is able to recover after the Covid-19 shock
As it became clear that airlines – small or big, private or public – had enough liquidity to sustain for two weeks to two months, they naturally turned to national governments for help. Being major employers, economic enablers and occasionally a source of national pride, airlines felt entitled to benefit from state coffers. This is especially true for countries implementing extensive fiscal and monetary stimuli. Bailing out airlines is inevitable. It is not only because of the ‘too big to fail’ philosophy, but because of the objective role air connectivity plays today in the global economy.