The world’s air transport industry will remain in the red through 2021, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Thursday.
There had been some estimates that the industry would return to positive growth in the final months of the year, the report said.
IATA had predicted losses of $48 billion in 2021, but it now says they will be at least $75 billion — and that’s even if travel restrictions are lifted in the developed world after vulnerable populations are vaccinated.
“If governments fail to open their borders, we will ask for their generosity and financial assistance to keep airlines alive,” IATA President and CEO Alexander de Juniac said in a statement.
Many governments have been forced to enact new controls in the face of a second wave of the disease, and new variants of the novel coronavirus continue to emerge, clouding the outlook for future growth. As a result, some predict that the first half of 2021 will be worse than expected.
“The UK has set a good example,” says Mr De Juniac. In late February, the government laid out a reopening strategy based on the improvement in the UK’s COVID-19 situation. This provides a framework for the airlines to plan for a return to commercial activity, “he said.
IATA also stressed that digital health certificates would play an important role in preventing, among other things, fraud in nucleic acid test results and vaccination certificates.
Summer bookings in the northern hemisphere are now 78% lower than in February 2019. (Compiled by Liu Lifei)