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News Article

Global Concerns Set Air Traffic Back by a Full Year

By Sofía Hanna | Fri, 04/15/2022 - 10:58

The aerospace and aviation sectors continue facing uncertainty caused by rising inflation rates, ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns and the Russia-Ukraine war. Despite the slight recovery in global demand, specialists warn about several potential scenarios that could further delay the industry’s recovery. 

 

A total of 4.5 billion passengers flew during 2021, an increase of almost 25 percent from 2020,

according to the Airport Council International (ACI). However, these numbers still represent a drop of over 50 percent from 2019’s traffic levels. The world’s 10 busiest airports saw a 51.8 percent gain from 2020, which still means a 29.1 percent drop from their 2019 results.

 

While 2022 might have had a good start, the industry is being affected by numerous factors that will only delay the sector’s recovery. “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, rising inflation and ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns in China have dampened the longer-term outlook for global air travel. We did not expect air traffic levels to return to pre-pandemic levels until the second quarter of 2025, a full 12 months later than our previous forecast,” said Bain & Company. The firm explains that travel projections between the EU and Asia took a significant hit because of China’s lockdowns, soaring operation costs caused by bans on flights over Russian airspace and the halt of commercial aviation capacity in Ukraine. 

 

Mexican aviation, on the other hand, seems to be taking off. In Jan. and Feb. 2022, the Federal Agency of Civil Aviation (AFAC) registered 14.6 million passengers and 128,800 flights in the country, a 78 percent and 36 percent increase, respectively, when compared with the same months of 2021, as mentioned by MBN. Easter trips increased this year by over 40 percent compared to 2021. Mexico has invested in domestic travel since 2020 to promote the country’s economic movement and tourism.

 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has asked governments to lift travel restrictions that have been put in place in response to new variants of COVID-19, arguing that traveling by air does not increase the risk of transmission. Industry associations including the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) keep advocating for the ease of travel restrictions, implementing coordinated measures to promote the recovery of aviation and tourism. Despite these measures, the circumstances have pushed the recovery of the aviation industry to 2019’s air traffic levels back by a full year.

Photo by:   jernejcic, Unsplash
Sofía Hanna Sofía Hanna Journalist and Industry Analyst