The coronavirus pandemic is having serious impacts on the airline industry, as countries close borders and impose strict travel bans to limit the spread of the virus.
Since the beginning of 2020, the travel restrictions have led to massive flights cancellations, causing huge losses to some of the world’s largest airline companies and huge drops in airline passenger traffic.
The data presented by Aksje Bloggen show that global air passenger traffic is expected to fall down to 1.8bn (-60%) in 2020. This number is expected to recover to 2.8bn in 2021, but still 40% less than pre-pandemic levels.
According to the OAG Schedules Analyser data, Air passenger traffic appears to be back to 2004 levels, with scheduled flights down by 43.5% year-over-year for the week starting December 14th. Singapore registered the biggest drop in scheduled flights (-89% compared to the same month of 2019), followed by Hong Kong (-87.7%), Germany (-76.6%), the United Kingdom (-73.5%), and Italy (-69.5%).
Before the beginning of the coronavirus, the aviation industry was growing at a fast pace in the entire world. According to IATA, the number of passengers handled by the airline industry had been increasing for the last 15 years, moving from $1.9bn in 2004 to $4.5bn in 2019. This growth was due to the increase of the middle class, airport infrastructure spending, and low-cost carriers, who managed to almost double their market share.
As for passenger revenue, this is expected to hit $287 billion in 2021, a drop of -50% if compared to 2019 levels. Before the virus hit the globe, worldwide commercial airlines’ passenger revenues jumped from $323bn in 2005 to $612bn in 2019. However, due to the pandemic, revenues are expected to drop by 67% year-over-year to $191bn in 2020. In 2021, revenues are expected to recover to $287bn, still only half the 2019 revenues.
European airports are supposed to register the biggest financial losses (-$38.8bn), followed by Asia Pacific airports (-$27.6bn), and North American airports (-$21bn).
According to statistics, government aids issued to airlines to tackle the coronavirus-related losses amounted to $161.9bn as of September.