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The airline industry confirms that 2020 was the worst year on record

A total of 1.8 bn passengers flew in 2020, compared to 4.5 bn passengers in 2019

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released the World Air Transport Statistics (WATS) publication revealing the performance of 2020 where a total of 1.8 billion passengers flew, compared to 4.5 billion in 2019. The report clearly showed the devastating effects of Covid-19 on the aviation industry.

Additionally, airline revenues were also down 69 percent to $189 billion, and registered a net loss of $126.4 billion, according to WATS. Industry-wise air travel demand measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) also declined by 65.9 percent.

International passenger demand dropped by 75.6 percent in 2020, compared to 2019 and domestic air passenger demand dropped by 48.8 percent in 2020, compared to 2019.

Additionally, global air connectivity decreased more than 50 percent in 2020 with the number of routes connecting airports falling dramatically because of Covid-19 and quickly went down to more than 60 percent in April 2020.

Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General told the media, “2020 was a year that we would all like to forget. But analysing the performance statistics for the year reveals an amazing story of perseverance. At the depth of the crisis in April 2020, 66 per cent of the world’s commercial air transport fleet was grounded as governments closed borders or imposed strict quarantines.”

“A million jobs disappeared. And industry losses for the year totalled 126 billion dollars. Many governments recognised aviation’s critical contributions and provided financial lifelines and other forms of support. But it was the rapid actions by airlines and the commitment of our people that saw the airline industry through the most difficult year in its history.”

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