The International Air Transport Association has issued a statement outlining a long recovery period for the aviation industry, signaling that international air travel won’t return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023.
Alexandre de Juniac, Director-General at the IATA has told the world that “we have published today a new forecast about the potential recovery of air traffic and what we see is that things should come back to normal in 2023,” he said.
“That shows the importance and the severity of the crisis on air transport,” he added.
“That would be a $314 billion hit. And without urgent relief, many airlines will not survive to lead the economic recovery.” - Alexandre de Juniac
De Juniac forecasts that opening domestic markets for flights will represent the first major sign of recovery for the sector, with airlines opening up regions soon after. It’s expected that trans-continental flights - in a more reasonable manner - will open back up by the end of the year.
The IATA did warn, however, that by the end of the year, the airspace will only be running “between 50 to 55 per cent” compared to 2019 figures.
The IATA has previously warned that the aviation sector was set to take a $314 billion hit this year alone, as more than half of passenger revenues disappear.
Mr Juniac added that almost all airlines globally have had their bottom line ravaged, with almost all of them on the brink of bankruptcy, who, according to Juniac “are relying on the support packages and rescue plans that have been put together by governments”
The aviation sector has been hit particularly hard in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In recent weeks, we’ve published reports on Virgin Australia filing for voluntary administration, bigger brother Virgin Atlantic roping investment banks in to secure additional funding to stay afloat, British Airways dropping 12,000 of its staff, in addition to Boeing who was forced to lay off 16,000 staff and significantly slowed down production of its wide-body passenger jets.
The IATA has released a separate statement other than its forecasting, adding that enforcement of mandatory quarantines is set to be one of the biggest hurdles the sector faces in its recovery. Juniac says that the IATA believes implementing more temperature screenings at airports, and preventing those exhibiting coronavirus-like symptoms from traveling in the first place are better options than long periods of quarantine.
“To protect aviation’s ability to be a catalyst for economic recovery,” he said, “we must not make that prognosis worse by making travel impracticable with quarantine measures… even in the best of circumstances this crisis will cost many jobs and rob the economy of years of aviation-stimulated growth.”
In an earlier statement, de Juniac has said that “this is an emergency. Airlines around the world are struggling to survive,” adding that “governments will need financially viable airlines to lead the economic recovery. Many of them won’t be around to do that if they have run out of cash.”
“We could see more than half of passenger revenues disappear,” he said, adding that “that would be a $314 billion hit. And without urgent relief, many airlines will not survive to lead the economic recovery.”