BY Victoria Ogunrinde
There may not be improvement in air travel soon due to the fresh Covid-19 induced travel restrictions in the 2021 fiscal period, the International Air Transport Association has said.
IATA said in its forecast for 2021 on Wednesday that air travel demands may only improve by 13 per cent from the drop recorded last year.
This is following new restrictions imposed across different countries with the resurgence of the virus.
The new projection is against the baseline forecast AITA made for 2021 at 50.4 per cent issued last December.
AITA said in the forecast that, “While this view remains unchanged, there is a severe downside risk if more severe travel restrictions in response to new variants persist.
“Should such a scenario materialize, demand improvement could be limited to just 13 per cent over 2020 levels, leaving the industry at 38 per cent of 2019 levels.”
The association said, if the restriction persists, the 13 per cent slump would equal 38 per cent of 2019 levels.
AITA also revealed international passenger demand fell 75 per cent, while domestic demand by nearly half in 2020 on the virus induced restrictions.
This signals the biggest fall in demand ever.
“Our forecast is for traffic to return to half of 2019 levels in 2021. But the proliferation of restrictions on travel that we have seen since the beginning of the year could make even that modest outlook very challenging,” said IATA Director- General Alexandre De Juniac.
The DG said despite $200bn injected in the industry by governments to help keep the industry viable, more funding would be needed because of the travel restrictions.
De Juniac said, “I don’t think that anyone foresees a world free from Covid-19 anytime soon. Certainly not in the next months or even within this year. But our ability to manage the risk is increasing as more people get vaccinated and testing capacity expands.”