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Travel Report: 21 years of airline passenger traffic growth wiped out in 2020

Travel Report: 21 years of airline passenger traffic growth wiped out in 2020

A passenger checks flight information on a board in the departure hall of Madrid-Barajas Airport.

Paul Hanna | Bloomberg | Getty Images

SINGAPORE – A new report concludes that more than two decades of growth in air passenger traffic will be wiped out in 2020.

“The pandemic and its consequences have wiped out 21 years of global passenger traffic growth in a matter of months, reducing this year’s traffic to levels last seen in 1999,” travel data and analytics company Cirium said.

“Compared to last year, it is estimated that passenger traffic will decrease by 67% in 2020,” the company said in a press release.

Only 2.9 trillion kilometers of global passenger revenue was recorded in 2020, compared to 8.7 trillion kilometers in 2019. RPKs are used as a measure of air traffic.

The aviation industry has been hit hard before Coronavirus pandemicAs countries closed their borders in an attempt to stop the spread of the disease.

According to Cirium data, airlines operated 16.8 million flights from January 1 to December 20, 2020. This is less than 33.2 million flights in the same period in 2019.

More than 40 airlines have ceased or stopped their operations altogether. Experts expect more to fail in 2021, according to Cerium.

The road to recovery

The Asia-Pacific and North America region was “the fastest to establish itself on the long road to recovery,” she said. Cirium’s Airline Insights Review 2020.

The trend was reflected in Cirium’s list of the world’s busiest airports, which were dominated by airports in the US and China.

Acknowledging by David White, Cirium’s vice president of strategy, that major cities like New York, Beijing, and Shanghai were missing from the list, he told CNBC that it appeared that airports such as New York’s JFK Airport were “disproportionately affected by international traffic in normal times.” .

Airports like Minneapolis, O’Hare (Chicago), [Dallas-Fort Worth]Atlanta and Charlotte have significantly higher traffic than JFK now due to the volume of domestic flights at these domestic hub airports. “ It is observed in some Chinese airports.

International flights are down 68% compared to 2019, while domestic travel is down 40%.

Cirium expects passenger demand for air travel to bounce back in 2024 or 2025, with domestic and leisure traffic being the first sectors to show a “sustainable recovery”.

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