Will Future Travel Return to Normal

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Demand for air travel is fluctuating. As number of new coronavirus cases are increasing in some countries.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) in May predicted that international travel would not return to normal until 2023. But now it is saying that it may not return to pre-COVID levels until 2024.

The IATA said, “The return of global passenger traffic to pre-COVID-19 levels is now delayed by a year, to 2024. As international travel remains limited, the recovery for global passenger traffic has been slower than expected.”

However, IATA predicts that the short-haul flights will recover sooner than the long-haul flights.

The association came to these findings after passenger traffic worldwide in June dropped by 86.5 percent as compared to the same time period last year. However, there was also a 91 percent drop in air traffic in May this year compared to May 2019.

The IATA says that new prediction is based on several recent trends. Such as increasing new cases of infection in the US and developing countries. Moreover, the customers’ confidence is weak for air travel as they are still not sure if it is safe to travel.

“Corporate travel budgets are expected to be very constrained as companies continue to be under financial pressure even as the economy improves,” the IATA adds. “Video conferencing appears to have made significant inroads as a substitute for in-person meetings.”

Demand for Leisure Travel Is Increasing

It also mentioned that there is still a demand for leisure travel and people visiting friends and relatives. But holidaymakers are not booking holidays due to concerns over job security and rising unemployment. According to an IATA survey from June, 55 percent said they don’t plan to travel in 2020.

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, said: “Passenger traffic hit bottom in April, but the strength of the upturn has been very weak.”

“What improvement we have seen has been domestic flying. International markets remain largely closed. Consumer confidence is low. Additionally, the UK’s weekend decision to impose a blanket quarantine on all travelers returning from Spain is not helping. And in many parts of the world infections are still rising. All of this points to a longer recovery period and more pain for the industry and the global economy. For airlines, this is bad news that points to the need for governments to continue with relief measures—financial and otherwise.”

Despite the drastic drop seen this year, the IATA expects to see a 62 percent rise in passenger numbers in 2021. But they are not expecting a full recovery to 2019 levels until 2024.

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