Global airlines projected a sharp decrease in industry losses next year with the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, which progresses at different speeds but has revised upward the financial damage posed by the pandemic in 2020 and 2021.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the industry’s leading trade body, has predicted that net losses at airlines will decline to $11.6 billion in 2022, from $51.8 billion this year.
Losses for 2021 were revised upwards, estimated in April at $47.7 billion. IATA also revised upwards losses in 2020 to 137.7 billion dollars, compared to the 126.4 billion dollars forecast previously.
While airlines in all regions are expected to perform better, North American airlines are expected to return to profit next year.
“We have already passed the deepest point of the crisis,” Iaya’s general director Willie Walsh said at the group’s annual meeting. “Although serious problems remain, the path to recovery is looming.”
Even so, IATA urged governments to maintain wage support measures and vacancy fluctuations until international traffic recovers.
Demand for international travel is expected to double next year and reach 44% of 2019 levels. However, the vaccination rate, as well as the lifting of border restrictions imposed by the government, will determine the pace of recovery.
“People … are being prevented from traveling internationally because of restrictions, doubt and complexity,” said Walsh.
As governments are leaning on vaccines as a way out of the health crisis, Walsh said they need to be made available to whoever wants them.
The demand for domestic travel is assumed to reach 93% of the pre-pandemic level by 2022 — a 20 percentage point improvement from this year.
The total number of passengers is expected to increase to 3.4 billion next year, from 2.3 billion in 2021, estimates IATA, but will be below 4.5 billion in 2019.
(Translated by LABS)