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London (CNN Business) – More huge losses are looming for the airline industry as carriers brace for the COVID-19 crisis to extend well into 2021.


The International Air Transport Association forecast Tuesday that the sector will lose $157 billion this year and next due to the pandemic. That’s muchworse than previous estimates.

“This crisis is devastating and unrelenting,” IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac said in a statement.

De Juniac said that Covid-19 made 2020 the worst financial year on record “bar none.” The industry group expects net losses to total$118.5 billion, worse than the$84.3 billion forecast in June. IATAnow thinks the airline industry will lose $38.7 billion in 2021, deeper than its previous $15.8 billion forecast.

“We need to get borders safely reopened without quarantine so that people will fly again,” said de Juniac. “With airlines expected to bleed cash at least until the fourth quarter of 2021 there is no time to lose.”

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