The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has predicted at least 50.4 per cent improvement in the demand for air travels this year.
It however warned that the projection could be hampered by “severe travel restrictions.”
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Despite that, the association representing some 280 airlines comprising 82 per cent of global air traffic, said if attained, the aviation industry would return to the 50.6 per cent level in 2019.
This was contained in the full-year global passenger traffic results for 2020 which IATA released yesterday.
“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 IATA’s Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac speaking on the report.
The IATA boss also said 2020 travel demand was the sharpest traffic decline in aviation history, adding that forward bookings have been falling sharply since late December.
According to the report, international passenger demand in 2020 was 75.6% below 2019 levels. Capacity which is measured in Available Seat Kilometres (ASKs) declined 68.1% and load factor fell 19.2 percentage points to 62.8%.
Domestic demand in 2020 was down 48.8% compared to 2019. Capacity contracted by 35.7% and load factor dropped 17 percentage points to 66.6%.
The report said December 2020 total traffic was 69.7% below the same month in 2019, little improved from the 70.4% contraction in November while capacity was down 56.7% and load factor fell 24.6 percentage points to 57.5%.
Bookings for future travel made in January 2021 were down 70% compared to a year-ago, putting further pressure on airline cash positions and potentially impacting the timing of the expected recovery.