The Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on the Aviation Industry

Impact of the COVID-19 on Aviation

The aviation industry was one of the major industrial and commercial sectors that were badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Because the use of aeroplanes has been associated with the spread of the coronavirus, travel restrictions were imposed by countries all around the world including those with major airports. This had resulted in a sharp decrease in passengers, which consequently resulted in flights being cancelled or planes flying empty between airports.

All this has resulted in a massive reduction in revenues for airlines. Many airlines, aircraft manufacturers and airports were forced to dismiss employees or declare bankruptcy. Some airlines tried to avoid refunding cancelled trips to reduce their losses.

As passenger flights were cancelled the cost of sending cargo by air had increased too. For example, the cost of sending cargo across the Pacific Ocean had tripled by late March 2020. After only several months since the start of the pandemic the aviation industry was in its worst crisis in its history. 

IATA Report on the loss in the aviation industry

According to The International Air Transport Association (IATA), in 2020, the total loss in the aviation industry is estimated to be $137.7 billion, while this has reduced to $51.8 billion in 2021. It is expected that the airline industry financial performance will improve in 2022 and the loss will is expected to be reduced to $11.6 billion. Adding these up, the total industry losses in 2020-2022 are expected to reach $201 billion.

Due to what happened and the fact that demand levels are not expected to return to pre-COVID-19 levels until 2023 to 2025, the aviation industry will be different in the future. It is expected that airlines will reduce the size of their fleets either by modernizing fleets with more fuel-efficient aircraft models by keeping older planes and reducing capital expenditure on new aircraft. It is also expected that airports will stop any expansion plans for many years to come.

It is also expected that travelers will witness new phenomena at airports and aircraft such as the use of robots for autonomous cleaning and an increase in touch-less technologies to speed up the boarding experience. For example instead of travelers handing over their passports or tickets, they may get their faces scanned with a biometric device. The use of Mobile apps also will increase to reduce touch, and mobile alerts will help in minimize crowding by directing individual customers to board, therefore decreasing crowds milling around the gates. Travelers will also see more thermal-screening cameras installed so that their body temperature is checked quickly.

All these expected changes have been seen not only as challenges but also as opportunities. For example, Robert Lange, a Senior Vice President at Airbus, says: “I strongly suspect that we will look back at 2020 as being a turning point in the history of commercial aviation or at least a point of inflection or possibly a new beginning in some way. But certainly, it’s not all risk, it’s risk and opportunity.” 


Further reading we recommend this :

ICAO, Economic Impacts of COVID-19 on Civil Aviation .

IATA, The impact of COVID-19 on aviation.

- IATA, Losses Reduce but Challenges Continue - Cumulative $201 Billion Losses for 2020-2022.

-Modul University Vienna , The long-term implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the aviation industry, Bachelor Thesis by Melánia Hudáková , Vienna, 14th of June 2021.


Ahlam Dammag

Being an Instructor changed my life for the better .

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