Aviation losses in 2020
March 8, 2021 - The International Civil Aviation Organization has confirmed that global passenger traffic suffered a dramatic 60 per cent drop over 2020, bringing air travel totals to below 2004 levels.
The United Nations agency reports that just 1.8 billion passengers took to the air during the first year of the pandemic, compared to 4.5 billion in 2019.
Its numbers also show airline financial losses of US$370 billion resulting from Covid-19 impacts, with airports and air navigation services providers losing a further $115 billion and $13 billion, respectively.
The pandemic plunge in air travel demand began in January of 2020 but was limited to only a few countries. As the virus continued its global spread, air transport activities came to a virtual standstill by the end of March.
By April, the overall number of passengers had fallen 98 per cent from 2019 levels for international traffic and 87 per cent for domestic air travel.
The global $370 billion plunges in gross airline passenger operating revenues represented losses of $120 billion in the Asia-Pacific region, $100 billion in Europe, and $88 billion in North America. Latin America and the Caribbean saw a $26 billion loss, followed by $22 billion and $14 billion in the Middle East and Africa, respectively.
The ICAO predicts a global improvement by June 2021. In the most optimistic scenario, passenger numbers will recover to 71 per cent of their 2019 levels, while a more pessimistic situation foresees only a 49 per cent recovery.