No matter how hard we try to avoid reminding ourselves of the situation that befell us all with the coronavirus pandemic, it is inevitable to think about when life will return to normal and what the consequences will be. The devastating effects the pandemic had on the aviation industry have already been widely reported, and now IATA predicts when the air travel could recover.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has issued a renewed global passenger estimate which points out that the recovery in air traffic has been slower than had been anticipated. It is said that they do not anticipate the airline industry to retrieve from the coronavirus pandemic until 2024.
Global passenger traffic (revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) will not return to pre-COVID-19 levels until 2024. The recovery in short-haul travel is still presumed to happen faster than for long haul travel. For 2020, global passenger numbers (enplanements) are expected to decline by 55% compared to 2019, worsened from the April forecast of 46%.
IATA said that the more pessimistic recovery forecast is based on many current trends led by the slow virus containment in the US and other developing economies, which represents around 40 percent of global air travel markets. The unpredictable behavior of the virus and the potential danger of a new outbreak in the fall are certain factors to be reckoned with.
Beside reduced corporate travel and weak consumer confidence are also factors that will affect the slow recovery of air traffic. Corporate travel budgets are presumed to be very restrained as companies remain to be under financial pressure even as the economy recovers. Also, the increasing switching of business and the necessary contacts to internet video applications will certainly affect these parameters.
Besides, there is a very understandable fear of travel. Although interest exists for air travel, consumer confidence is weak in the face of over job security and rising unemployment, says IATA. Improvement has been seen in domestic flying, while international markets remain largely closed.
Passenger numbers are anticipated to rise 62 percent in 2021 and full recovery to 2019 levels is not expected until late 2023, one year later than previously forecast.