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‘2020 was the most difficult year for aviation,’ says IATA


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Recent statistics from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) indicate that last year was the worst on record for the aviation sector.

During the release of its annual World Air Transport Statistics publication, the organization reported that 1.8 billion passengers flew in 2020, a decrease of 60 percent compared to the 4.5 billion who flew in 2019.

Industry-wide air travel demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometers, or RPKs) dropped by 66 percent year-on-year.

Total industry passenger revenues fell by 69 percent to $189 billion in 2020, and net losses were $126 billion in total

IATA reported air connectivity fell by more than half in 2020, with the number of routes connecting airports decreasing dramatically at the beginning of the crisis and declining by more than 60 percent year-to-year by April 2020.

The decline in air passengers transported in 2020 was the largest recorded since global RPKs started being tracked around 1950.

“Last year was a year that we’d all like to forget.

“But analysing the performance statistics for the year reveals an amazing story of perseverance.

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“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,” said IATA director general, Willie Walsh.

“A million jobs disappeared.

“And industry losses for the year totalled $126 billion.

“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.”

In 2020, China became the largest domestic market for the first time in recorded history as domestic air travel rebounded faster after a thorough effort to control Covid-19.

More Information

Take a look at the full World Air Transport Statistics document here.

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