The unprecedented pandemic brought a lot of uncertainty and loss across sectors worldwide, the brunt of it was felt by the aviation industry.
The aviation industry came to a virtual standstill and entered survival mode due to exponential costs and limited to no revenue.
The Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) reported that the industry would lose revenue of at least $1.8 trillion and account for nearly 46 million job losses in 2020.
Middle East and European nations were named the most affected regions. There was a significant drop of 64.6% in global air traffic in 2020 and less than a billion people flew international. A loss of global air passenger traffic equating to 4.75 billion people is forecasted for 2021.
Asia- Pacific region witnessed 2.15 billion people fall out of the passenger list of 2020. The least impacted region is Latin America and the Caribbean’s.
Some airline companies saw opportunity in the crisis situation.
Several Indian carriers converted a few of its aircrafts into freighters, thus making them available to carry cargo. Airlines expanded their cargo operations as there was a hike in demand to transport essentials across the globe. A bulk of the revenue that they generated was because these steps were taken.
Australia’s Qantas Airways started offering sightseeing services. Qantas offered trips of flying over the continent of Antarctica. Duration of these trip was about 12 to 14 hours long. They also sold out 10,000 pajamas sets, amenity packs and inflight treats.
Canada’s Air North started delivering airline meals at homes. Meanwhile Thai airways started a restaurant with airplane seats to offer a airline dinning experience.
Air New Zealand started subletting its headquarter office space, while and Malaysian low cost airliner Air Asia started selling fruits and veggies on a online platform that they created called Outfarm.
Taiwan’s EVA Airways and Japan’s ANA Holdings sold tickets for flights to no where. ANA’s scenic trip even offered a Hawaiian themed experience along with a certificate and souvenirs of the trip.
Starlux Airlines did a “pretending to go abroad” flight trip that was piloted by the chairman himself, while several Chinese airline companies offered unlimited flight packages to attract customers and raise demand for domestic trips.
Since air transport operations resumed on some scale, the industry has made safety of its employees and customers as its utmost priority. Several biosafety measures have been adopted by airports across the world.
The Asia Pacific region was the first to show signs of recovery, this was largely contributed by China.
The second half of 2021 is said to be brighter as lockdowns and restrictions are being lifted.
The phycological impact of staying at home has left people caged and vacation deprived. As vaccinations are taking place on large and rapid scales, experts predict a surge in number of people traveling to different countries and places.
International air traffic by the end of 2021 is expected to see 1.6 billion flyers and domestic air traffic would see about 5 billion flyers. It is estimated that domestic passenger traffic will reach 2019 levels by 2023 and and international by 2024-2025.