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USA And China Domestic Airline Traffic Surges, Global Recovery Slow

International Airline traffic will recover from the COVID-19 pandemic more slowly than previously expected as vaccination delays and government "risk aversion" slows the reopening of routes, global airlines body IATA has said.

International Airline traffic will recover from the COVID-19 pandemic more slowly than previously expected as vaccination delays and government “risk aversion” slows the reopening of routes, global airlines body IATA has said.

Global airline traffic in 2021 will amount to 43 per cent of pre-crisis levels based on passenger numbers and distance flown, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said, below the 51 per cent it had forecast late last year.

IATA also predicted industry losses of $US47.7 billion ($A62 billion) in 2021. While that represents an improvement on last year’s $US126.4 billion ($A164 billion) deficit, the organisation warned that airlines would continue to need government wage support.

“This crisis is longer and deeper than anyone could have expected,” Director General Willie Walsh said.

The latest industry outlook also sheds light on the multi-speed recovery underway, with large domestic markets led by the United States and China surging ahead. Europe, by contrast, will see only one-third of its 2019 traffic this year, IATA predicts.

Industry revenue is likely to grow 23 per cent from last year’s low to $US231 billion, it also forecast – still far below the $US607 billion generated a year earlier.

Cargo demand will continue to be a bright spot outpacing passenger traffic with 13.1 per cent growth in 2021 to exceed its 2019 level, IATA predicted. 

Total cargo volumes are seen at 63.1 million tonnes, close to their pre-crisis peak in 2018.

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Qantas says they are still forging ahead with plans to restart international flights from the end of October 2021.

The airline is planning to resume flights to 22 of its 25 pre-COVID international destinations including Los Angeles, London, Singapore and Johannesburg from 31 October 2021.

Qantas said they won’t initially resume direct flights to New York, Santiago and Osaka, but says they remain committed to flying to these three destinations. In the meantime, customers will be able to fly to these destinations under codeshare or Oneworld arrangements with partner airlines.

Jetstar also plans to resume flights to all of its 13 international destinations. Frequencies will be adjusted in line with the projected recovery of international flying.

Visit www.iata.org for more.

Source AAP