Global air traffic will not return to pre-coronavirus level until at least 2024

epa08308823 A view of the departure boarding where most of the flights are cancelled at Zaventem International Airport near Brussels, Belgium, 20 March 2020. Brussels Airlines has decided to temporarily suspend its flight operations from 21 March 2020. In order to contain the spread of coronavirus, Belgium is implementing confinement guidelines for the public which is scheduled to be in place until 05 April 2020. Only supermarkets and essential trade will remain open. EPA-EFE/STEPHANIE LECOCQ

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Global air traffic will not return to pre-coronavirus levels until at least 2024, a year later than previously anticipated, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Tuesday.

One of the reasons cited by the IATA for the “more pessimistic” outlook is the slow virus containment in the US and developing economies.

“Although developed economies outside of the US have been largely successful in containing the spread of the virus, renewed outbreaks have occurred in these economies, and in China,” the IATA noted.

“Furthermore there is little sign of the virus containment in many important emerging economies, which in combination with the US, represent 40% of global air travel markets,” it added.

Euronews reports that other factors for the delay include reduced corporate travel and weak consumer confidence with people preferring to postpone travel because of concerns over job security and rising unemployment and fears of catching COVID-19.

The organisation expects enplanements to fall by 55 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019 and stressed that although passenger numbers should rebound by 62 per cent in 2021, it will still be down by nearly a third compared to 2019.

As such, a full recovery to 2019 levels in passenger numbers is not expected until 2023.


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