Air travel likely to recover from 2024

Not so soon.

Belmont Lay | July 30, 2020, 12:03 AM

Global air travel is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2024, the trade association for the airline industry said on July 28, 2020.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) pushed back its prediction by one year due to the slow containment of the outbreak in the United States and in developing countries.

The airline industry hit the depths of the shutdown in April.

But the rebound is "barely visible", IATA chief economist Brian Pearce said during an online briefing for the media.

Air travel not recovering as well

Business confidence is rising in Europe, the U.S. and China, but air travel is not rebounding, Pearce said.

Traffic was down 86.5 per cent in June compared to a year ago.

In April, the drop from a year ago was 94.1 per cent.

Traffic is measured as revenue passenger kilometres, or the distance traveled by all revenue-generating passengers.

Airlines can't fill seats

Airlines are struggling to fill planes with people.

Planes were only 62.9 per cent full on domestic flights around the world, well below levels at which airlines make money.

International travel is 38.9 per cent full.

China bouncing back, not the rest

So far, China is bouncing back more than some other places, but new Covid-19 cases in the U.S. is holding back travel.

“Furthermore, there is little sign of virus containment in many important emerging economies, which in combination with the U.S., represent around 40 per cent of global air travel markets," IATA said in a statement.

"Their continued closure, particularly to international travel, is a significant drag on recovery.”

U.S. is seeing more Covid-19 cases after some states moved to lift restrictions on public life and business.

The summer vacation season in Europe is also causing an uptick in some places.

Top photo via Unsplash