Air traffic will take until 2024 to return to normal level, airlines estimate
Global air traffic will have to wait four years to recover its levels prior to the viral pandemic, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimated on Tuesday.
We estimate that the (traffic) level of 2019 will not be reached until 2024, which is one year later than we previously anticipated, said Brian Pearce, IATA chief financial officer, who highlighted uncertainties about lifting the border restrictions.
The recovery of the number of flights was slower than expected in May and June, he added, and the second half will continue the same trend.
By 2020, the drop in flight volume will be 63%, instead of the 55% previously forecast.
The projections depend a lot on the way countries control the virus, he explained.
A covid-19 vaccine could improve the situation, given governments' inability to control the pandemic, he said.
The situation is particularly bleak for transatlantic travel, where a massive reopening of flights is not taking place.
The organization, which groups 290 airlines, estimates that in 2020 the sector will lose $419 billion, which means a drop of half the average turnover.