A 60% "Dive" in global air traffic in 2020
A 60% "Dive" in global air traffic in 2020
  Tourism  |  International  |  Analysis

A 60% "Dive" in global air traffic in 2020

The coronavirus pandemic caused a 60% drop in air passenger traffic worldwide in 2020 and the short-term outlook remains bleak, according to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
RE+D magazine

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the tourism industry globally.

 With travel restrictions still in place around the world in an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19, the number of passengers reached 1.8 billion in 2020, dropping to 2003 levels, compared to 4.5 billion in 2019, the ICAO said.

The "fall in demand" will continue for the current quarter and may even worsen, warns the UN specialixed Agency, based in Montreal.

In 2020, the reduction in air passenger traffic reached 50% on domestic flights, and 74% on international flights, which carried 1.4 billion fewer people than in 2019.

As a result, the companies suffered a cumulative loss of $ 370 billion. Airports and air navigation service providers suffered $ 115 billion and $ 13 billion in losses, respectively.

A situation that, according to ICAO, "calls into question the economic viability of the industry and threatens millions of jobs worldwide." The global tourism market was also hit hard, as almost 50% of tourists choose the plane to reach their destinations.

According to the Agency, the recovery of the industry, possibly in the second quarter, depends on the success of vaccinations, which began in rich countries. Several governments have rushed to the aid of companies or are about to do so.

The downturn in the industry began in January 2020, but then narrowed to a few countries. In late March, with the spread of the new coronavirus, the industry was virtually immobilized around the world, ICAO reported.

In April, the decrease in passenger traffic amounted to 92% compared to 2019. Passenger traffic increased modestly during the summer in northern countries, but decreased again since September with the arrival of the second wave of the pandemic and the return of restrictions around the world.

Overall, ICAO notes that domestic flights have better withstood travel restrictions than international flights, especially in China and Russia, where passenger traffic has already returned to pre-pandemic levels.