Global air traffic will return to normal only in 2024

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which groups 290 airlines, estimates that the sector will lose $419 billion by 2020 and flight volume will fall by 63%.

Global air traffic will have to wait four years to recover its pre-pandemic levels of coronavirus, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicted Tuesday (28 July 2020).

Photo: Macau Photo Agency
Photo: Macau Photo Agency

“We estimate that the 2019 (traffic) level will not be reached until 2024, which is one year later than we had previously projected,” said Brian Pearce, IATA’s chief financial officer, who highlighted the uncertainties surrounding the lifting of border restrictions.

The recovery in the number of flights was slower than expected in May and June, he added, and the second half of the year will follow the same trend.

By 2020, the drop in flight volume will be 63%, instead of the 55% previously forecast.

“The projections depend very much on how countries control the virus,” Pearce warned. A vaccine against COVID-19 could improve the situation, given the inability of governments to control the pandemic, he said.

The situation is particularly bleak “for transatlantic travel,” where there is no massive reopening of flights.

The organization, which groups 290 airlines, estimates that the sector will lose 419 billion dollars by 2020, which means a drop of half the average turnover.