A multinational group of airline companies has painted a bleak picture for the future of international air travel.
The International Association for Air Transport (IATA), which represents more than 280 airlines, estimates that global passenger traffic will not return to pre-COVID-19 rates until 2024.
The prediction is one year later than the travel body had expected.
Global passenger traffic represents the “revenue kilometres”-an industry statistic measured as the number of passengers travelling over the total distance.
The IATA said the new forecast represented recent developments, including sluggish U.S. and other economies virus containment, decreased corporate travel, and poor consumer trust caused by job security issues and rising unemployment.
🧳 Latest forecast: The return of global passenger traffic to pre-#COVID19 levels is now delayed by a year, to 2024.
As int'l #travel remains limited, the recovery for global passenger traffic has been slower than expected 📉
— IATA (@IATA) July 28, 2020
The IATA also said the confusion surrounding border reopenings was a factor, with IATA CEO Alexandre de Juniac claiming that the borders were closed and quarantines enforced had “the same impact as an outright lockdown”
Nevertheless, it agreed that developing a vaccine would allow for faster recovery.
“Passenger traffic hit bottom in April, but the strength of the upturn has been very weak,” he said.
“What improvement we have seen has been domestic flying. International markets remain largely closed.
“Consumer confidence is depressed and not helped by the UK’s weekend decision to impose a blanket quarantine on all travellers returning from Spain.
“And in many parts of the world infections are still rising.
“All of this points to a longer recovery period and more pain for the industry and the global economy.”