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

The outlook has worsened due to rising Covid-19 cases in India and Latin America.

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Air Travel Forecast: When Will Airlines Recover from Covid-19?
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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, as of May 2021.

  • Projected global 2021 air traffic continues to drop, primarily as a result of sharp increases in the number of Covid-19 cases in India and Latin America. Since our previous forecast, projected revenue for this year in the “baseline” scenario fell about $24 billion to $279 billion, 42% of the industry’s total revenue in 2019 (see panel 1 above). That follows a $13 billion decrease in 2021 “baseline” revenue in the previous projection.
  • However, there were some recent positive developments. Flights within Asia are picking up, thanks largely to domestic air travel growth in China after many restrictions were lifted (see panel 3). In Europe, the projected increase in intraregional travel in the second half of the year has strengthened after some countries, including France and Germany, sped up their vaccination campaigns.
  • Looking ahead to July 2022, India had the largest decline in projected airline passenger volume compared with our previous projection (see panel 4). Europe saw the largest gains.

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.

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