Geneva [Switzerland]: Global passenger traffic will not return to pre-COVID-19 levels until 2024, a year later than previously projected, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said.
However, the recovery in short-haul travel is still expected to happen faster than for long-haul travel. As a result, passenger numbers will recover faster than traffic measured in revenue passenger kilometres.
“Recovery to pre-COVID-19 levels will also slide by a year from 2022 to 2023. For 2020, global passenger numbers (enplanements) are expected to decline by 55 per cent compared to 2019, worsened from the April forecast of 46 per cent,” said IATA in an updated global passenger forecast.
June passenger traffic foreshadowed the slower-than-expected recovery. Traffic fell 86.5 per cent compared to the year-ago period. That is only slightly improved from a 91 per cent contraction in May and was driven by rising demand in domestic markets, particularly China.
The June load factor set an all-time low for the month at 57.6 per cent.
The more pessimistic recovery outlook is based on a number of recent trends: slow virus containment in the United States and developing economies, reduced corporate travel and weak consumer confidence.
International markets remain largely closed. Consumer confidence is depressed and not helped by the UK’s weekend decision to impose a blanket quarantine on all travellers returning from Spain, said IATA’s Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.
“And in many parts of the world, infections are still rising. All of this points to a longer recovery period and more pain for the industry and the global economy,” said de Juniac.
June international traffic shrank by 96.8 per cent compared to June 2019, only slightly improved over a 98.3 per cent decline in May year-over-year. Capacity fell 93.2 per cent and load factor contracted 44.7 percentage points to 38.9 per cent.
Asia Pacific airlines’ June traffic plummeted 97.1 per cent compared to the year-ago period, little improved from the 98.1 per cent decline in May. Capacity fell 93.4 per cent and load factor shrank 45.8 percentage points to 35.6 per cent. (ANI)