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Weekly flights change of global airlines due to COVID-19 as of January 2021

The impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) can be seen on every sector of the most affected countries as well as globally. For the week starting January 4, 2021, the number of scheduled flights worldwide was down by 43.5 percent compared to the week of January 6, 2020. The impact of COVID-19 on the Chinese aviation reached a peak in the week starting February 17, 2020, with flight numbers down by 70.8 percent.

Aviation market prior to COVID-19 outbreak

Before the coronavirus outbreak hit the globe, the aviation industry was improving at a steady pace across countries. For instance, the projected annual growth of revenue ton-miles (RTM) for international flights by U.S. commercial air carriers was at roughly four percent for the period between 2020 and 2040. Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, the forecasted aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) market size in North America was over 22 billion U.S. dollars in 2020. After the adjustments with respect to radical changes driven by coronavirus shock, the North American MRO market is now estimated to generate roughly 12 billion U.S. dollars during the same period. Besides, it was estimated that between 2019 and 2038 over 260,000 technicians in the aviation industry will be demanded in the Asia Pacific region only.

Aviation market after COVID-19 shock

Coronavirus pandemic hit the passenger aviation much worse than cargo aviation because of lockdowns and bans restricting international travel across the globe. As a result of persisting COVID-19 shocks, passenger aviation is expected to lose roughly 314 billion U.S. dollars in 2020. Even though some countries started to recover as the coronavirus spread is being contained, the desired level of recovery may take at least several quarters or years. The change of airlines’ capacity will most likely remain at least ten percent below the 2019 levels. The longer recovery periods are attributed to several factors including the COVID-19 economic recession, confidence of people to travel, and stringent travel restrictions. Therefore, some institutions forecast the aviation industry to recover at a much slower pace than what was expected.

Year-on-year change of weekly flight frequency of global airlines from January 6 to January 4, 2021, by country

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Release date

January 2021



Survey time period

week of January 6 to January 4, 2021

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