This huge fall has put extra pressure on the cash positions of the aviation industry and has delayed the time of recovery.
UPDATED ON FEB 05, 2021 11:00 PM IST
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has recently said 2020 has seen the sharpest decline in air traffic demand in aviation history. This is not surprising given that international flights remained suspended for most of the year owing to Covid-19 pandemic. But future bookings have also not gathered pace is what the association has indicated in its latest report.
The global traffic demand fell 65.9 per cent in comparison to the full year of 2019. The demand for future bookings fell by 70 per cent in relation to a year ago, it said. This huge fall has put extra pressure on the cash positions of the aviation industry and has delayed the time of recovery. The air traffic demand for international travel fell 75.6 per cent vis-a-vis 2019 with cumulative domestic air traffic demand down by 48.6 per cent compared to 2019.
Countries and airlines worst-hit in 2020:
>The sharpest decline in the international passenger market was seen in Asia Pacific airlines. The revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) fell below 80.3 per cent in comparison to 2019, the deepest decline for any region.
> North America trailed with Year on Year (YoY) decline in the air traffic demand dropping by 75.4 per cent.
> European carriers were hit next with the fall in full-year traffic by 73.7 per cent. In December, it saw a slight upturn in comparison to YoY decline in November due to the holiday season but the trend was soon reversed by the end of the month.
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> In the domestic passenger traffic market, the sharpest decline was witnessed by Australia with a fall of 69.5 per cent.
> After Australia comes the United States with a fall in demand by 59.6 per cent and India comes third with the domestic air traffic demand falling by 55.6 per cent.
IATA has predicted 50.4 per cent improvement on the demand of last year that could bring the industry to 50.6 per cent of 2019 levels. However, the risk of serious travel restrictions due to the emergence of Covid variants can limit this improvement to just 13 per cent of 2020 levels and at 38 per cent of the 2019 levels or the pre-corona era.
“Last year was a catastrophe. There is no other way to describe it. What recovery there was over the Northern hemisphere summer season stalled in autumn and the situation turned dramatically worse over the year-end holiday season, as more severe travel restrictions were imposed in the face of new outbreaks and new strains of Covid-19.” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
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