Recovery For Global Air Transport Industry Remains Tentative

Credit: Rob Finlayson

Reeling in March from the suddenness and depth of the COVID-19 crisis, the air transport industry at least cautiously believed that the second half of 2020 would see the beginnings of a turnaround.

That prospect was looking highly questionable as of mid-July, when coronavirus cases and deaths were surging in places that included Brazil, Colombia, India, South Africa and, most shockingly, the US.


In early April, when IATA surveyed passengers, 61% said they would travel again in the first months after the pandemic subsides. By June, that percentage had dropped to 45% and about two-thirds of those surveyed saw less travel in their future, for vacation, visiting friends and family, or for business.

A large factor in people’s growing reluctance to fly soon is the increasing occurrence of border closures and lengthy quarantine rules for incoming travelers.

Even where travel restrictions are lifted, Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s CEO, admits that IATA and airlines “have to do better” on getting the message out about why flying is safe and why keeping middle seats open does not make a flight safer.