Nationalisation of civil aviation is being debated as the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the majority of the flights grounded across the world threatening the survival of the industry.

Verdict has conducted a poll to assess whether nationalisation of civil aviation is needed to survive the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Analysis of the poll results shows that civil aviation may need nationalisation to survive the pandemic, although the opinion is mixed with  51% of the respondents voting for nationalisation to survive the pandemic’s impact and 49% believing that nationalisation may not be required.

The analysis is based on 238 responses received between 26 March and 01 May.

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Nationalisation of civil aviation may be the last resort: Experts

As airline operators burn through cash reserves and look at an extended halt of operations, government support is being touted as the most effective way to remain afloat until the situation recovers.

Many countries have offered economic relief packages for airline operators but that may still be insufficient as recovery is estimated to be longer than expected.

Some countries are, however, considering nationalisation to rescue aviation companies from collapsing. Italy, for example, has renationalised its flag carrier Alitalia and invested $650m in the operator. Similarly, Germany plans to nationalise Condor Airlines, while the UK is considering partial nationalisation of British Airways.

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Many other airline operators, particularly flag carriers, are expected to be nationalised and those who are not nationalised may face difficult times and even go bankrupt.

Experts such as Dr Frankie O’Connell, University of Surrey reader in air transport management, however, believe that nationalisation may be the last resort to keeping airline operators from going bankrupt.

Further, countries with multiple carriers will face a tough choice as to which carrier should be nationalised.