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Air Travel Forecast: When Will Airlines Recover from Covid-19?

The outlook has worsened due to rising Covid-19 cases, new national lockdowns, international border closures, and vaccine distribution challenges.


Air Travel Forecast: When Will Airlines Recover from Covid-19?

Global commercial air traffic plummeted in the first quarter of 2020, as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold. In May 2020, we began making monthly forecasts of how soon aviation demand will recover, based on four potential scenarios and the latest information. We’re now publishing those forecasts in this dashboard, which we will update regularly.

Here are the latest developments reflected in the dashboard:

  • A rapid increase in confirmed Covid-19 cases, more national lockdowns, and international border closures have dampened the outlook for 2021 across all four scenarios (see panels 1 and 2 above). In particular, recent vaccine distribution news has pushed back timing for recovery in our “accelerated vaccine” scenario.
  • Since our previous projection, the worsening situation has reduced projected 2021 global airline revenue in the “baseline” scenario by $23 billion to $337 billion—about half of the industry’s total revenue in 2019, before the pandemic.
  • Looking ahead to July, the projected airline passenger volume decreased or remained essentially flat compared with our previous projection in all but two G-20 countries: Germany and Turkey (see panel 3). South Africa and Brazil saw the largest month-over-month declines, as a result of disease outbreaks and increased travel restrictions.

Projected market and financial information, analyses and conclusions are based (unless sourced otherwise) on external information and Bain & Company’s judgment. They are intended as a guide only and should not be construed as definitive forecasts or guarantees of future performance or results. No responsibility or liability whatsoever is accepted by any person including Bain & Company, Inc. or its affiliates and their respective officers, employees or agents for any errors or omissions.


Bain’s Monthly Global Air Traffic Recovery Scenarios

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