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Global aviation sector to recover slower, says Iata

Waheed Abbas/Dubai
Filed on July 28, 2020
For 2020 global passenger numbers are expected to decline by 55 per cent compared to 2019. - Reuters

Global air freight markets in June improved but at a slower pace.

The International Air Transport Association (Iata) on Tuesday projected slower recovery for the aviation sector yet again due to prolonged impact of the coronavirus on the industry and global economy.

It said global passenger traffic will not return to pre-Covid-19 levels until 2024, a year later than previously projected.

For 2020, it said global passenger numbers are expected to decline by 55 per cent compared to 2019, worsened from the April forecast of 46 per cent.

Passenger numbers are expected to rise 62 per cent in 2021 off the depressed 2020 base, but still will be down almost 30 per cent compared to 2019.

For the poorer recovery, Iata blamed slow virus containment in the US and developing economies, reduced corporate travel and weaker consumer confidence.

"Passenger traffic hit bottom in April, but the strength of the upturn has been very weak. What improvement we have seen has been domestic flying. International markets remain largely closed. Consumer confidence is depressed. And in many parts of the world infections are still rising. All of this points to a longer recovery period and more pain for the industry and the global economy," said Alexandre de Juniac, director-general and CEO of Iata.

Iata had earlier projected $84.3 billion total losses for the global airlines in 2020 as 7.5 million flights were cancelled during January-July period.

"For airlines, this is bad news that points to the need for governments to continue with relief measures -financial and otherwise... (Airlines) need to keep sharply focused on meeting demand and not meeting slot rules that were never meant to accommodate the sharp fluctuations of a crisis. The earlier we know the slot rules the better, but we are still waiting for governments in key markets to confirm a waiver," said de Juniac.

On the domestic aviation market front, Iata said it is opening ahead of international markets, and because passengers appear to prefer short haul travel in the current environment.

Meanwhile, global air freight markets in June improved but at a slower pace than some of the traditional leading indicators would suggest, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) said.

Demand fell by 17.6 per cent in June compared to the previous year. But that is a modest improvement from the 20.1 per cent year-on-year drop recorded in May.

Global capacity shrank by 34.1 per cent in June compared to the previous year. This was on par with the 34.8 per cent year-on-year drop in May.- waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com


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