The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released its financial outlook for the global air transport industry, citing expected losses of US$84.3 billion this year for a net profit margin of -20.1 per cent. Revenues, it says, will fall a staggering 50 per cent to $419 billion from $838 billion in 2019.
“Financially, 2020 will go down as the worst year in the history of aviation” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “On average, every day of this year will add $230 million to industry losses. In total, that’s a loss of $84.3 billion. It means that—based on an estimate of 2.2 billion passengers this year – airlines will lose $37.54 per passenger. That’s why government financial relief was and remains crucial as airlines burn through cash.”
However, de Juniac also asserted that, providing there is not a second and more damaging wave of Covid-19, ‘the worst of the collapse is likely behind us.’ He reasoned that recovery through universal implementation of the re-start measures agreed through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to keep passengers and crew safe would be key to the recovery of the industry.
“And, with the help of effective contact tracing, these measures should give governments the confidence to open borders without quarantine measures,” said de Juniac. “That’s an important part of the economic recovery because about 10 per cent of the world’s GDP is from tourism and much of that depends on air travel.”
Still, as far as 2021 goes, airlines will likely still be ‘financially fragile’, de Juniac said, detailing that 2021 losses are expected to be cut to $15.8 billion as revenues rise to $598 billion. “Getting people safely flying again will be a powerful economic boost,” he added.