IATA Forecasts More Severe Hit To Asia-Pacific Airline Industry

According to IATA, Japan will suffer the highest passenger volume decline, with a 99.8 million year-on-year drop.
Credit: Tokyo Haneda Airport

New projections from IATA indicate steeper drops in demand, revenue and staff numbers than previously estimated for some of the key Asia-Pacific airline markets this year.

IATA predicted that Asia-Pacific airlines will collectively suffer $29 billion in losses in 2020 because of the COVID-19 crisis, the largest loss of any global region. Asia-Pacific passenger demand is expected to be down 53.8% year-on-year, with capacity reduced by 39.2%.

The industry group has listed revised forecasts for airline revenue losses, demand drops and the resulting economic impact from COVID-19 for 17 Asia-Pacific countries. In each case, the outlook is slightly worse than the previous report for these markets released in late April.

The expected year-on-year percentage decline in passenger demand is in the 49-53% range for almost all of the 17 listed countries. The drop is one-to-three points higher for each country compared with the previous IATA estimates in late April. Sri Lanka tops the list with a 60% demand decline, followed by South Korea with 54% and then Australia, Japan, the Maldives, Pakistan and Thailand with 53%.

Japan has the highest passenger volume decline with a 99.8 million year-on-year drop.  India is expected to see a 93.3 million decrease, with South Korea down by 61.4 million and Indonesia 60.1 million. These figures include domestic and international passengers in each market.

Projected revenue drops are equally dire. Airline revenue is expected to be down by $23.9 billion in the Japanese market, including local and overseas-based carriers. The revenue drop is forecast to be $14.8 billion for Australia, $11.6 billion for India and $11.1 billion for South Korea.

Falls in demand and revenue have led to staff cuts and many more jobs are at risk in the region. More than three million positions will be under threat in India in the aviation industry and other sectors dependent on aviation, IATA predicted. Thailand and Indonesia are next on the list with more than two million potential job losses in each country. More than one million jobs are at risk in Vietnam.

Adrian Schofield

Adrian is a senior air transport editor for Aviation Week, based in New Zealand. He covers commercial aviation in the Asia-Pacific region.