What Is The State Of The Global Aviation Industry Right Now?

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Airlines, airports, travel agencies and other organisations in the global travel and aviation industry are struggling to survive during the COVID-19 pandemic. The worldwide aviation industry is in a serious crisis and will take years to recover. During the crisis, some airlines are likely to go out of business. Others have to significantly reconsider their operations in order to stay fit for the future. A small recovery has been starting slowly though, according to data by OAG.

Route networks

One of the most obvious consequences for the Corona crisis is the limited availability of flights and destinations. Key reasons for this are things like frequently changing entry restrictions, the duration of (compulsory) quarantine, negative COVID test requirements, etc.

Despite all this, some airlines have made a (slow) restart, especially in Europe. Carriers like KLM, Lufthansa and British Airways are constantly evaluating what destinations to offer and which to temporarily terminate due to regional measures. For more information on international travel advisory please check the ‘IATA COVID-19 Travel regulations map‘ (powered by Timatic).

Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (Source: Etihad)
Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (Source: Etihad)

Amount of flights

In many countries the number of flights is much lower than what would normally be the case. For most larger airlines, flights are up to about 50% of last year. Flights between some countries have dropped as much as 95% though. Think about flights between the US and the United Kingdom and between the US and Canada. Many Asian countries also still have many fewer flights than before, due to the entry restrictions in place.

The biggest American carriers had reduced flights by about 50% last month. Surprisingly, China Eastern and China Southern only reduced flights by a mere 5-10%. This is due to the fact that China wants to keep cities connected by air and sometimes sends nearly empty aircraft to fly.

Bottom line

With infection rates now increasing once again in Europe, it’s hard to see the aviation industry getting back to normal anytime soon. Hopefully by next Spring, vaccines and/or rapid testing will be widely available, but airlines should prepare for a bleak winter…

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