A report by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has indicated that international passenger traffic suffered a 60 per cent drop in 2020, returning air travel to a low obtained in 2003.
In the report titled, “Economic Impact Analysis of COVID-19”, it said 1.8 billion passengers were airlifted compared to 4.5bn recorded in 2019.
Also, airlines lost $370bn resulting from the COVID-19 impacts, with airports and air navigation services providers (ANSPs) losing a further $115bn and $13bn, respectively.
It noted that the pandemic effect on air travel started in January of 2020, but was limited to only a few countries.
But as the virus continued to spread globally, air transport activities came to a virtual standstill by the end of March.
The ICAO figures were an aggregate of the figures from all the global aviation bodies including ICAO, IATA, Airport Council International (ACI), the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The report indicated that with the lockdowns imposed by nations to contain the virus spread, by April the overall number of passengers had fallen 92 per cent from 2019 levels, an average of the 98 per cent drop-off seen in international traffic and 87 per cent fall in domestic air travel.
According to the analysis, the global $370bn drop in gross airline passenger operating revenues represented losses of $120bn in the Asia/Pacific, $100bn in Europe, and $88bn in North America, followed by $26bn, $22bn and $14bn in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and Africa, respectively.”
One area, which has been largely neglected is the air navigation service provider (ANSP), which controls air traffic across the world.