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Global Airline Traffic Projected to Decline for First Time Since 2003 Due to Coronavirus

by Erich Martin

Feb 25, 2020
eFlyer Lead

The coronavirus continues to reign terror on the travel industry as a whole, especially with a focus on China and Asia-Pacific traffic. A new forecast from the International Air Transport Association predicts the first drop in global air traffic since 2003.

The predicted impacts of the virus will result in a 0.6 percent global contraction in passenger demand in 2020. A huge percentage of the loss comes out of Asia Pacific and is attributable to the coronavirus. In that region, the total contraction comes to 8.2 percent. The hit stands out because the region was originally projected for a 4.8 percent growth in 2020.

Carriers in the rest of the world are forecast for a $1.5 billion loss in revenue in 2020.  In total, global lost revenue is projected to reach $29.3 billion.

The report explains the virus’ impact is being projected with the assumption it will follow the same demand impact path as 2003’s SARS crisis. SARS resulted in a sharp six-month decline followed by a sharp rebound.

The end impact of the coronavirus depends on how the situation develops. While the association is using as reliable a source as possible, there is no way to know for sure how the next months will play out.

“These are challenging times for the global air transport industry. Stopping the spread of the virus is the top priority. Airlines are following the guidance of the World Health Organization (WHO) and other public health authorities to keep passengers safe, the world connected, and the virus contained,” said Alexandre de Juniac, director general and CEO, IATA.

Do you think the virus will have a permanent impact on the airline industry? Are you worried about the future of the United States’ travel industry? Tell us. Email us at [email protected]. Please include your full name and location.

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