Sunday, May 9, 2021

International air travel begins slow trip back up

IATA blames the slow recovery on a lack of consumer confidence, decline in business travel, and the new coronavirus spikes in the US and abroad.

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has reported that passenger demand in July was still at critically low levels.

Passenger numbers were 80% below levels seen in the same month last year.

This was somewhat better than the 87% year-over-year decline recorded in June, primarily driven by domestic markets, most notably Russia and China.

Markets reopening in the Schengen Area helped to boost international demand in Europe, but other international markets showed little change from June.

“With essentially four in five air travellers staying home, the industry remains largely paralysed.

“Governments reopening and then closing borders or removing and then re-imposing quarantines does not give many consumers confidence to make travel plans, nor airlines to rebuild schedules,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA director general.

IATA has revised its outlook for the recovery of global air travel and now it does not expect it to get back to normal until 2024.

IATA, which represents 290 airlines, blamed the slow recovery on a lack of consumer confidence, decline in business travel, and the new coronavirus spikes in the US and abroad.

Aviation Week reports that IATA sees a need for further government financial assistance as airlines continue to suffer amid sluggish air travel recovery.

“The initial round of measures will need to be topped up,” de Juniac said.

Governments have injected around US$123 billion into the global airline industry since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to an earlier IATA summary.

That support has helped avoid mass insolvencies of airlines.

However, IATA now says such support will not be sufficient to carry the industry through the prolonged crisis.

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