Bad news for travelers as International air travel may not return to normal till 2023

Brian Pearce, chief economist of the International Air Transport Association, gestures whilst speaking during a news conference at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) symposium in Dublin, Ireland, on Wednesday, June 2, 2016. IATA, which represents 260 airlines accounting for 83 of global air traffic, revealed Monday that global passenger traffic grew only 4.6 percent in April -- the slowest pace since January 2015. Photographer: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg via Getty Images

International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned that international air travels may not return to normal until 2023.

The trade association of the world’s airlines said passenger traffic is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023 ‘at the earliest’ and could suffer further under new health regulations.

IATA’s Chief Economist, Brian Pearce, says: “Covid’s effects on air travel are certainly going to last a number of years with no quick rebound to 2019 levels.”

Under the IATAs baseline scenario, it expects travel to return to normal by 2023, but under its ‘setback scenario’ – if lockdown continues into the autumn or if there’s another wave of the virus – travel might not return to normal until 2024.

During its weekly update yesterday, the IATA forecast that revenue passenger-kilometres (RPKs, which measure the volume of passengers carried by an airline) would drop to under 4 billion per year in 2020 from 8 billion per year in 2019 – having a significant impact on airlines.

While levels of international air travel may not return to normal until 2023, it doesn’t mean there will be no travel – just not the volume of travel there was before.

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