Boeing says it expects that it will take another two and a half years for global aviation to return to pre-pandemic levels.
Its vice president of commercial marketing, Darren Hulst, said: “The industry recovers to 2019 levels of traffic by the end of 2023, early 2024” and domestic flying would be at the forefront of any recovery.
Long-haul international routes would take the longest to recover, according to Boeing’s forecast, partly because of government restrictions.
Boeing says these will need to be eased to enable “the recovery of the pent up demand that exists already in the marketplace”.
Last year, passenger numbers fell 60% to 1.8 billion and the industry lost $126 billion, according to the airline body IATA, which said it was the worst year on record.
Boeing says that the strength of the global economy is key to recovering from the slump. Using data from IHS Economics it says that “the global economy is actually trending back towards where it would have been had the virus not actually happened”.
A coordinated global approach on travel restrictions is also a ” tremendously important” factor in the recovery, Mr Hulst said, adding that common understanding of travel rules enabled people to “resume business, resume visiting and resume how they use the global transportation system [like] before the virus began”.
Across the world, governments have taken their own approaches to recognising vaccine and testing status. There are also differing requirements around quarantine periods which have made international travel a complicated affair.
However, last month the European Union introduced a vaccine passport to make it easier for people to travel across borders within the bloc.
The aviation industry is crucial to the global economy. The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization estimates that before the pandemic it was worth 3.6% of the global economy and supported 65.5 million jobs worldwide.