The Impact of COVID-19 on the Aviation Industry
Since the beginning of this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has gripped the world. The impact of this crisis on healthcare, the economy and the world population is unprecedented. Many industries, including the airline industry, have come to a standstill in the fight against the virus. But how big is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the aviation sector? In this blog, we list the facts for you.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shut down the entire travel industry. The aviation sector has been particularly hard hit. Millions of flights have been cancelled worldwide since the outbreak of the crisis, with more being added every day. The aviation sector is facing the greatest crisis in its history.
The COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent travel restrictions caused the fastest drop in flight demand since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In April, commercial flights had fallen by 73.7% over the same period in 2019. This decrease means that many passenger aircraft are now out of order. According to data company Cirium 6,800 aircraft were grounded worldwide in April, which is 64% of the global fleet.
Many airlines already report a record loss. KLM has already lost 1.8 billion euros in the first three months of 2020, more than in its worst year ever. The CEO of United Airlines indicates that United makes a loss of 100 million dollars a day. For Delta Airlines, this amount is $60 million dollar per day.
Fortunately, despite all the negative effects, there are also many positive things to report.
For example, CO2 emissions have decreased by 47 million tons as a result of the enormous decline in flights performed, according to figures from Flightradar24 among others. Also, various airlines have devised initiatives to commit themselves to society. Delta Airlines donated 200.000 pounds of unused food to hospitals, food banks and other organizations, and American Airlines donated 25.000 meals to an initiative to support hospitality workers. United Airlines has started producing hand gel and JetBlue has decided to highlight healthcare workers by giving away 100.000 return flights to the heroes of healthcare.
The rest of 2020 and perhaps even longer than that will probably continue to be dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many airlines do not expect the number of flights to return to their previous level until 2023.
Many governments have therefore decided to save the aviation sector with aid packages. Without it, it will be difficult for many airlines to survive this crisis. The Dutch government comes with a support package of 2 to 4 billion euros for KLM and the French government with a support package of 7 billion euros for sister company Air France. The US government has also pledged a support package of no less than $25 billion for United Airlines, Delta Airlines and JetBlue. Besides, Lufthansa, Alitalia, Swiss Air, Iberia and Vueling can also count on government support.
This support is desperately needed because the International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that passenger revenue will decrease by as much as $314 million by 2020. That is a decrease of 55% compared to 2019. Also, IATA fears that 2.7 million jobs in the aviation sector are at risk and on top of that another 25 million jobs related to the aviation sector.