IATA (International Air Transport Association) has projected that the world’s airlines need another $70-$80 billion of government support to survive the crisis caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.
According to IATA Director-General, Alexandre de Juniac, the $80 billion is on top of the $170 billion already granted, reiterating that extra funds would “bridge the gap” between now and June when he expects the first significant easing of travel restrictions, as the impact of vaccines begins to be felt.
IATA figures show that government travel restrictions and a huge fall in passenger confidence meant global demand for flights fell about 60% in 2020. That means 2020 saw about 1.8 billion passenger flights, instead of the 4.5 billion in 2019. This means airlines are estimated to have already lost $118 billion, with worse set to come.
Last year, the Association projected that African airlines would lose $3.7 billion between 2020 and 2021, with global losses projected to hit $157 billion. According to the association, the bulk of African losses ($2 billion) would be registered in 2020, and another $1.7 billion in 2021.
IATA also said globally, the industry would lose $38.7 billion in 2021.
Passenger numbers are forecast to increase to 2.8 billion in 2021, which represents an improvement of 1 billion more travellers, although it will still be 1.7 billion travellers shy of 2019 figures. Although 45% below 2019, revenues are expected to rebound to $459 billion in 2021, with costs expected to rise by $61 billion.