The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Tourism Economics have predicted that global passengers numbers will have surpassed pre-pandemic levels by 2023.
They have however warned that the damage on the airline industry caused by Covid-19 will be felt for many years to come.
The report has forecast that:
- Global passenger numbers in 2021 are likely to be just 52% of 2019 numbers
- Passenger numbers will increase in 2022 but will still be only at 82% of 2019.
- 2023 will see global passenger numbers increasing to 105% of 2019 figures.
“I am always optimistic about aviation. We are in the deepest and gravest crisis in our history. But the rapidly growing vaccinated population and advancements in testing will return the freedom to fly in the months ahead. And when that happens, people are going to want to travel. The immediate challenge is to reopen borders, eliminate quarantine measures and digitally manage vaccination/testing certificates. At the same time, we must assure the world that aviation’s long-term growth prospects are supported with an unwavering commitment to sustainability. Both challenges require governments and industry to work in partnership. Aviation is ready. But I don’t see governments moving fast enough.”Willie Walsh, IATA Director General.
The report suggests that there is still high demand for international travel, when it is allowed. Many consumers have higher than normal levels of savings than before the pandemic. The vaccination rate in a number of developed countries is also high giving added confidence in the ability to travel.
“This should be a clarion call to governments to get ready. The travel and tourism sector is a major contributor to GDP. People’s livelihoods are at stake. To avoid greater long-term economic and social damage, restart must not be delayed. Governments can facilitate a safe restart with policies that enable restriction-free travel for vaccinated people, and testing alternatives for those unable to be vaccinated. Governments must also be ready with processes to digitally manage the vaccine or test certificates—ensuring that a safe restart is also efficient.”Willie Walsh, IATA Director General.
The major test will be the speed with which countries choose or are able to safely reopen their borders again with restrictions that act as a deterrent to the majority of travellers.
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