Domestic and international airlines underwent the worst year on record in 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic decreased passenger traffic by more than 60 percent and global carriers lost more than $125 billion, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said in a report on Tuesday.
“At the depth of the crisis in April 2020, 66 percent of the world’s commercial air transport fleet was grounded as governments closed borders or imposed strict quarantines. A million jobs disappeared,” IATA Director General Willie Walsh said in a press release explaining the report. About 1.8 billion passengers flew in 2020, a decrease of 60.2 percent compared to the 4.5 billion who flew in 2019.
Connectivity between airports fell by a similar percentage, as airlines canceled routes and reported net losses of $126.4 billion, the report said. The decline in air passengers in 2020 was the largest recorded since data tracking airline passengers was first complied in 1950, the report added.