how long will the recovery of passenger traffic take

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) presented its latest report on the state of the situation of air transport under COVID-19

With the restrictions imposed by most governments around the world as a consequence of the coronavirus, the movement of people by airway it is almost nil, in order to control the pandemic.

This situation makes the airlinesIn addition to losing millions of dollars an hour, watch the prospects for a speedy recovery in traffic and lost revenue during this period drift away, the end of which is not yet in sight.

The figures that were presented 30 or 45 days ago would be a balm for the industry compared to those that are handled now.

Recently, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) He presented his latest report on the state of the air transport situation under COVID-19 via teleconference, which determines that the industry would have a slower recovery than the rest of the economy.

IATA estimates that the recovery of passenger traffic will take up to four years

And it is that, while they estimate that the Global GDP It will reach the figures it had in 2019 towards the year 2021, passenger traffic (measured in RPK), will only recover in late 2022 or early 2023.

The domestic segment, less susceptible to restrictions of the countries, it would follow the path of recovery in a faster way, reaching pre-crisis levels by mid-2021, while the international extends for at least one more year, even until 2024.

As a consequence, there will be an 8.5% drop in the average travel distance, from 2,050 kilometers to 1,900 km, partly because passengers will also have a preference for destinations within their own countries, or near their homes.

But the great damage to the airline industry is seen when comparing compares the recovery against growth projections that the industry had for the next years until just a few months ago, in October 2019.

Comparing two scenarios, one, which follows the current estimates considering the opening of the domestic markets in the third quarter of 2020 and the easing of the international movement, in 2021 passenger traffic would be 32% below what was projected, and only after 2025 could these levels be obtained.

The pandemic was a severe blow to airlines

The pandemic was a severe blow to airlines

The second scenario, with a pessimistic approach in which countries extend quarantines for a second outbreak of the coronavirus, would make traffic levels in 2021 remain 41% below projections.

And the serious problem of all this, as he pointed out Brian PearceIATA’s Chief Economist during the conference is that the investment plans of much of the industry were outlined with potential growth that faded and will not reappear for five years, which may have unthinkable ramifications.

How to minimize impact

To mitigate this impact, IATA considers it essential to move towards globally harmonized biosecurity measures with a risk-based, layered approach, an issue that goes against the establishment of mandatory quarantine periods for passengers arriving from international destinations to which many countries have resorted, including recently, Spain and the United Kingdom.

According to a survey carried out by the organization, 86% of the passengers were somewhat and very worried about having to carry out a quarantine when traveling; and 69% of recent passengers would not consider taking a trip if this would involve a 14-day quarantine period.

“Even under the best of circumstances, this crisis will cost many jobs and will deprive the economy of years of aviation-fueled growth. To protect aviation’s ability to be a catalyst for economic recovery, we should not make that forecast worse by making travel impractical with quarantine measures. We need a safe travel solution that addresses two challenges. You must give confidence to passengers to travel safely and without undue inconvenience. And you must give governments the confidence that they are protected against importing the virus. Our proposal is to apply temporary non-quarantine measures until we have an almost instantaneous vaccine, immunity passports, or COVID-19 tests available at scale, “said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA CEO and CEO.

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