Subscribe Free
in Air Transport

2020 worst year in history for air travel

Posted 4 February 2021 · Add Comment

IATA has announced full-year global passenger traffic results for 2020 showing that demand (revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) fell by 65.9% compared to the full year of 2019, by far the sharpest traffic decline in aviation history.

 

Middle Eastern airlines’ annual passenger demand in 2020 was 72.9% below 2019.  Image: IATA

Forward bookings have been falling sharply since late December.

 

    International passenger demand in 2020 was 75.6% below 2019 levels. Capacity, (measured in available seat kilometers or ASKs) declined 68.1% and load factor fell 19.2 percentage points to 62.8%.

    Domestic demand in 2020 was down 48.8% compared to 2019. Capacity contracted by 35.7% and load factor dropped 17 percentage points to 66.6%.

    December 2020 total traffic was 69.7% below the same month in 2019, little improved from the 70.4% contraction in November. Capacity was down 56.7% and load factor fell 24.6 percentage points to 57.5%.

    Bookings for future travel made in January 2021 were down 70% compared to a year-ago, putting further pressure on airline cash positions and potentially impacting the timing of the expected recovery.

    IATA’s baseline forecast for 2021 is for a 50.4% improvement on 2020 demand that would bring the industry to 50.6% of 2019 levels. While this view remains unchanged, there is a severe downside risk if more severe travel restrictions in response to new variants persist. Should such a scenario materialize, demand improvement could be limited to just 13% over 2020 levels, leaving the industry at 38% of 2019 levels.

 

“Last year was a catastrophe. There is no other way to describe it. What recovery there was over the Northern hemisphere summer season stalled in autumn and the situation turned dramatically worse over the year-end holiday season, as more severe travel restrictions were imposed in the face of new outbreaks and new strains of COVID-19.” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.

 

Middle Eastern airlines’ annual passenger demand in 2020 was 72.9% below 2019. Annual capacity fell 63.9% and load factor plummeted 18.9 percentage points to 57.3%. December’s traffic was down 82.6% compared to December 2019, improved from an 86.1% drop in November.

 

 

International Passenger Markets

 

Asia-Pacific airlines’ full-year traffic plunged 80.3% in 2020 compared to 2019, which was the deepest decline for any region. It fell 94.7% in the month of December amid stricter lockdowns, little changed from a 95% decline in November. Full year capacity was down 74.1% compared to 2019. Load factor fell 19.5 percentage points to 61.4%.

 

European carriers saw a 73.7% traffic decline in 2020 versus 2019. Capacity fell 66.3% and load factor decreased 18.8 percentage points to 66.8%. For the month of December, traffic slid 82.3% compared to December 2019, an upturn over the 87% year-to-year decline in November reflecting pre-holiday momentum that was reversed toward the end of the month.

 

North American airlines’ full year traffic fell 75.4% compared to 2019. Capacity dropped 65.5%, and load factor sank 23.9 percentage points to 60.1%. December demand was down 79.6% compared to the same month a year-ago, a pick-up over an 82.8% drop in November reflecting a holiday surge.

 

Latin American airlines had a 71.8% full year traffic decline compared to 2019, making it the best performing region after Africa. Capacity fell 67.7% and load factor dropped 10.4 percentage points to 72.4%, by far the highest among regions. Traffic fell 76.2% for the month of December compared to December 2019, somewhat improved from a 78.7% decline in November.

 

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

TATV - Newsround Feb 4: Bahrain's boost, Nigeria's plans and Dubai's training magic

The first TATV Newsround programme brings an overview of the main talking points in the news from the aviation, defence and aerospace industry in the emerging markets of the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.

IDEX: Collins Aerospace targets Middle East fighter seats

Collins Aerospace is looking at upgrading the F-15 and F-16 aircraft in the Middle East with its next generation ACES 5 ejection seats.

IDEX: Israel’s Aeronautics makes IDEX debut

Israel-based Aeronautics Group, a provider of integrated turnkey solutions based on unmanned systems platforms, payloads and communications for defence and HLS markets, presented its Orbiter 4 STUAS and Orbiter 1K Loitering

Qatar Airways Cargo joins Validaide as a Premium Member

Qatar Airways Cargo has joined Validaide Capabilities Platform as a premium member.

IDEX: Virtual reality training in real time

Visitors had the chance to experience the thrill of flying a fast jet with CAE’s digitally immersive training and operational support solutions at their stand at IDEX in Abu Dhabi.

Covid-19 changes the IT spending priorities for airports and airlines

The COVID-19 pandemic has refocused IT spending priorities for airlines and airports in 2020 as revenue plunged and the industry faced new health and operational requirements needed to keep flying, according to SITA.

DIT DSO SK2101210421
See us at
IDEX 2021 BT26221Aviation MENA 2021Arab Aviation Summit BT1002230321World Defence Show 2022DAS21_BTAviation Africa 2021 BTNN