There are reports that global travel now won’t be back to normal for at least four more years, due to the coronavirus crisis.
New data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) released this week, shows that recovery in passenger traffic has been slower than expected.
The global body now doesn’t see air travel return to normal until at least 2024, a year later than previously projected.
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It’s put the delay down to three main factors; slow virus containment in the United States and developing economies, reduced corporate travel, and weak consumer confidence.
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, says the recovery will take quite some time.
“Passenger traffic hit bottom in April, but the strength of the upturn has been very weak.
“What improvement we have seen has been domestic flying. International markets remain largely closed.
“Consumer confidence is depressed and not helped by the UK’s weekend decision to impose a blanket quarantine on all travellers returning from Spain.
“And in many parts of the world infections are still rising. All of this points to a longer recovery period and more pain for the industry and the global economy.
“For airlines, this is bad news that points to the need for governments to continue with relief measures—financial and otherwise.
“A full Northern Winter season waiver on the 80-20 use-it-or-lose it slot rule, for example, would provide critical relief to airlines in planning schedules amid unpredictable demand patterns.
“Airlines are planning their schedules. They need to keep sharply focused on meeting demand and not meeting slot rules that were never meant to accommodate the sharp fluctuations of a crisis.
“The earlier we know the slot rules the better, but we are still waiting for governments in key markets to confirm a waiver,” Mr Juniac said.