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

The outlook has worsened due to vaccination delays in Europe and tightening international travel restrictions in response to emerging virus variants.


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, as of April 2021.

  • Projected global 2021 air traffic continues to drop, primarily as a result of continued delays to vaccination programs in much of Europe and an increase in international travel restrictions in response to emerging Covid-19 variants. Since our previous forecast, projected revenue for this year in the “baseline” scenario fell about $13 billion to $303 billion, 45% of the industry’s total revenue in 2019 (see panel 1 above). That follows a $21 billion decrease in 2021 “baseline” revenue in the previous projection.
  • However, there are some bright spots, including recent growth in US domestic air travel that could be picking up momentum.  
  • Looking ahead to July 2022, the projected airline passenger volume declined compared with our previous projection in most countries (see panel 3). Italy had the biggest decline since our previous projection, while the US saw the largest gain.

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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