66 per cent drop in air passengers last year - IATA | Daily News

66 per cent drop in air passengers last year - IATA

FRANCE: Global air passenger traffic plunged by an unprecedented 66 per cent in 2020 owing to travel restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic, an industry group said Wednesday.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) also warned that new, more transmissible variants of the coronavirus could hurt prospects for a recovery this year.

Given that travel restrictions have been applied mostly to international travel, domestic passenger traffic fared better, falling by 49 percent, compared with 76 percent for foreign passenger traffic.

Travel restrictions imposed during the first wave of the pandemic caused global passenger traffic to reach just five percent of its normal level, with airlines parking planes on runways because no other space was available. “Last year was a catastrophe. There is no other way to describe it,” an IATA statement quoted Director General Alexandre de Juniac as saying.

“What recovery there was over the Northern hemisphere summer season stalled in autumn and the situation turned dramatically worse over the year-end holiday season, as more severe travel restrictions were imposed in the face of new outbreaks and new strains of COVID-19.”

IATA, which represents 290 airlines, did not formally lower its outlook for a pickup in traffic this year thanks to a global rollout of vaccines, but warned that the emergence of new variants of the virus clouded the forecast.- AFP