The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Universal Postal Union (UPU) on Monday called on governments to give more support to the movement of mail by air during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Swiss-based organizations warned in a joint statement that air capacity for postal services is currently insufficient.

“IATA and UPU are calling on governments to facilitate the flexibility that airlines need to meet this critical demand by removing border blockages to ensure trade flows continue,” they said.

They urged governments to avoid unnecessary regulations and to fast track the issuance of permits for chartered operations during the novel coronavirus crisis.

”Additionally, ensuring adequately trained staff are available to process and clear the mail upon arrival is essential,” they said.

The request is made due to the “drastic 95% reduction in passenger flights, which are typically used to transport mail, and a 25-30% increase in demand for e-commerce.”

This came as “customers and businesses resort to online purchasing in response to social distancing restrictions, postal administrations are facing a challenge in sending and delivering international mail, in particular, cross-continental mail,” according to the joint statement.

IATA says that airlines transport over 52 million metric tons of goods a year, representing more than 35% of global trade by value but less than 1% of world trade by volume.

That is equivalent to $6.8 trillion worth of goods annually, or $18.6 billion worth of goods every day.

The UPU is a United Nations’ specialized agency and the primary forum for cooperation between postal sector players.

World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevedo had said on April 8 that the COVID-19 crisis caused dramatic supply and demand shocks in the world economy, and that these shocks are inevitably causing major disruptions to trade.

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