The renaissance era has begun

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The renaissance era has begun
Source: Twitter @IATA
Wed August 04, 2021

Despite the growing Delta variant, 2021 has marked a turning point in the tourism industry


Statistics from the airline industry confirm that 2020 was the worst year on record. Beyond the outbreak in several countries of the world due to the Delta variant and the possible risk that it entails, the authorities are torn between taking steps back and imposing new restrictions or with the advancement of vaccination rates and health data to continue with the opening. The undeniable thing is that we are on the same level as the fateful 2020. Today everything looks more logical and predictable, at least in states that have better understood the dynamics of the pandemic. With this panorama, the tourism industry has begun to breathe cleaner air and is progressing in its recovery. For reference, IATA has released data today that marks a tipping point:

  • 1.8 billion passengers flew in 2020, a decrease of 60.2% compared to the 4.5 billion who flew in 2019.
  • Industry-wide demand for air travel (measured in revenue per passenger-kilometers, or RPK) was down 65.9% year-on-year.
  • International Passenger Demand (RPK) decreased 75.6% compared to the previous year.
  • The demand for domestic air passengers (RPK) fell 48.8% compared to 2019.
  • Air connectivity fell by more than half in 2020, and the number of routes connecting airports fell dramatically at the beginning of the crisis and fell by more than 60% year-on-year in April 2020.
  • Total industry passenger revenue fell 69% to $ 189 billion in 2020, and net losses were $ 126.4 billion in total.
  • The decline in air passengers carried in 2020 was the largest on record since global RPKs began tracking around 1950.
  • On average, there was a loss of $ 71.7 per passenger in 2020, corresponding to net losses of $ 126.4 billion in total.
  • Measured in ASK (kilometers of available seats), the global capacity of the airlines plummeted by 56.7%, with international capacity being the most affected with a reduction of 68.3%.
  • The system-wide passenger load factor dropped to 65.1% in 2020, compared to 82.5% the previous year.
  • The Middle East region suffered the highest proportion of passenger traffic losses * with a 71.5% drop in RPK compared to 2019, followed by Europe (-69.7%) and the Africa region (-68, 5%).
  • China became the largest domestic market in 2020 for the first time on record, as air travel recovered faster in its domestic market following its efforts to control COVID-19.

Not all regions start their road to recovery from the same point. Curiously, Latin America has been the country with the least damage. Below the data:

  • Asia-Pacific: 780.7 million passengers, a decrease of 53.4% ​​compared to the region's passengers in 2019.
  • North America: 401.7 million passengers, 60.8% less than in 2019
  • Europe: 389.9 million passengers, 67.4% less than in 2019
  • Latin America: 123.6 million passengers, 60.6% less than in 2019
  • Middle East: 8 million passengers, a decrease of 67.6% from 2019
  • Africa: 34.3 million passengers, 65.7% less than in 2019

“2020 was a year that we would all like to forget. But analysis of the performance statistics for the year reveals an astonishing story of perseverance. In the depths of the crisis in April 2020, 66% of the world's commercial air transport fleet was grounded when governments closed borders or imposed strict quarantines. One million jobs disappeared. And the industry's losses for the year totaled $ 126 billion. Many governments recognized the critical contributions of aviation and provided financial lifesavers and other forms of support. But it was the swift actions of the airlines and the commitment of our people that put the airline industry through the most difficult year in its history, ”said Willie Walsh, IATA Director General.

Stronger source markets
Despite the massive number of restrictions imposed last year, IATA today released other key data. The United States has been at the fore in number of international tourists. Here the ranking:

  • United States (45.7 million, or 9.7% of all passengers).
  • United Kingdom (40.8 million, or 8.6% of all passengers).
  • Germany (30.8 million, or 6.5% of all passengers)
  • France (23.3 million, or 4.9% of all passengers).
  • India (17.4 million, or 3.7% of all passengers).

The top five airlines ranked by total scheduled passenger kilometers flown were:

  • American Airlines (124 billion).
  • China Southern Airlines (110.7 billion).
  • Delta Air Lines (106.5 billion).
  • United Airlines (100.2 billion).
  • China Eastern Airlines (88.7 billion).
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