2020 Has Been the Worst Year for the Aviation Industry, Bar None

That 2020 has been a terrible year for pretty much everyone except the likes of Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk is hardly a secret. New figures revealed by the International Air Transport Association show just how bad things are for the aviation industry.
Airlines will continue to bleed billions until 2021, probably through to 2024, says industry body 1 photo
Because the basic formula of air travel relies on close proximity among passengers, the aviation industry is perhaps one of the hardest-hit by the ongoing health crisis. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) tells Business Insider that this year has been the worst year ever, “bar none,” with losses five times bigger than those recorded during the 2008 financial crisis.

Perhaps the worst part of it is that it’s not even half over yet. The IATA estimates that airlines will continue to bleed money throughout 2021, despite the promise of a vaccine by spring of next year. It won’t be until the fourth quarter of 2021 that they will start seeing some profit again, and that’s under the most optimistic scenario.

Another optimistic scenario is that passenger volume will return to what it was pre-2020 sometime in 2024. This means four more years of cutting costs and having to adapt to survive for the airlines.

If you’re more of a numbers-type of guy / gal, here’s the rundown: IATA says airlines will total $157 billion in losses by the time borders open again and a vaccine is widely deployed, meaning over a two-year interval. This means that, for each passenger boarded on a plane, airlines will lose $66, despite the cost cuts already operated. Speaking of which, IATA says they’re of about 46 percent across airlines, but losses are still at 60 percent.

“The history books will record 2020 as the industry's worst financial year, bar none,” Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, says. “Airlines cut expenses by an average of a billion dollars a day over 2020 and will still rack-up unprecedented losses.”


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