Airline group expecting coronavirus ramifications for five years

Airline group expecting coronavirus ramifications for five years
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A trade group representing airlines projects that demand for air travel will lag behind the levels predicted before the coronavirus pandemic for the next five years.

Brian Pearce, chief economist for the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said in a media briefing Wednesday that the group predicted global traffic will still be about 10 percent less than original estimates as late as 2025.

The difference between next year's older and current projections for next year is steeper, with IATA predicting traffic will be between one-third and 20 percent down from initial pre-pandemic projections, Bloomberg reported.

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The group projects travel would rebound to 2019 levels in 2023 at the earliest, according to the AP.

The IATA added that many of the factors that have increased air travel in recent decades, including improving living standards in emerging markets, will still be present in the years ahead.

IATA chief executive Alexandre De Juniac spoke out strongly against the idea of quarantine measures for people arriving in nations hit hard by the virus such as the U.K. and Spain. “International travel cannot restart under such conditions,” he said, referencing a survey that found 59 percent of customers would not fly in such circumstances.

De Juniac said the proper risk management methods for a gradual return to the status quo would include a globally coordinated system involving temperature checks and contact tracing.

The airline industry has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, with Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun saying Tuesday that passenger traffic is unlikely to reach even a quarter of previous levels by September, and predicted that at least one major airline will “most likely” go out of business by then.

"You know, something will happen when September comes around,” Calhoun said Tuesday.