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Coronavirus: impact on the aviation industry worldwide - statistics & facts

The new decade began with numerous countries shutting down their borders in response to the arrival of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This was subsequently followed by the introduction of multiple restrictions and regulations that limited the free movement of individuals in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus.

Passenger air travel took a big hit

The aviation industry was impacted greatly by the spread of coronavirus, with the number of global passengers decreasing drastically in 2020. Over 4.5 billion passengers traveled globally before the pandemic; this number fell to roughly 1.8 billion after the virus began to spread. Since the pandemic started, 58 percent of respondents have boarded an airline flight in 2021. Individuals also reported that the cabin cleanness and the airline reputation were the highest factors influencing their airline choice in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Drastic financial blow for airlines and aiports

The sharp decline in global travel led to drastic financial performances in the aviation industry. The year 2020 ended with commercial airlines’ passenger revenue amounting to 189 billion U.S. dollars. This illustrated a significant decrease relative to the 581 billion U.S. dollars reported before the pandemic. The aviation industry is estimated to have experienced revenue losses amounting to 370 billion U.S. dollars in the same period. Additionally, airports were greatly affected, reporting revenue losses amounting to 121.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2020 and further 111.4 billion U.S. dollars losses are estimated for 2021.

Air cargo - a source of oxygen for airlines

Though the commercial aviation took a large blow, global air freight traffic reduced slightly after the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. By 2022, air freight traffic is expected to grow to 69.3 million metric tons, an increase relative to the 56.1 million metric tons reported when the virus spread in 2020. In addition, revenue generated by cargo airlines grew substantially during the pandemic, amounting to 175 billion U.S. dollars in 2021.

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