ICAO: Latin America and the Caribbean lead global industry recovery

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The International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) latest analysis of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic revealed that passenger traffic rebounded «modestly» last year.

In total, the world’s airlines carried 2.3 billion passengers in the past year. While this number is at 49% of pre-pandemic levels, it represents an improvement of about 10 percentage points compared to the drop recorded in 2020.

Global seat capacity offered by airlines improved by 20 percent over the same period, outperforming growth in passenger demand. Meanwhile, the load factor stood at 68 percent, down from 82 percent in 2019. and airlines worldwide suffered losses of $324 billion, after $372 billion in 2020.

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The first quarter of 2021 experienced a slowdown in the pace of global air traffic recovery due to a sharp spike at that time in COVID-19 infections. The situation stabilized slightly in the second and third quarters, mainly due to increased vaccination rates and the subsequent relaxation of travel restrictions in several parts of the world.

However, this rising trend quickly reversed in the fourth quarter with the emergence of the Omicron strain, which in just a few months became the predominant variant globally.

The impact of the pandemic continues to weigh disproportionately on domestic and international travel, although the former is recovering at a faster pace. Overall, domestic passenger traffic has recovered to 68% of pre-pandemic levels, while international traffic remains at just 28%.

The global aviation recovery has also been characterized by significant regional variation, with North America, Latin America, and the Caribbean showing the highest recovery rates. Europe, meanwhile, picked up notably during the summer travel season, and Africa and the Middle East rebounded moderately until the emergence of the Omicron variant.

Asia/Pacific, on the other hand, was the worst performer as a result of slowing domestic traffic and stagnant international traffic.

Ismael Awad-Risk
Ismael Awad-Risk
Apasionado de la aviación comercial. Casi abogado.

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