Airlines are recording anemic demand on the passenger side. Fresh virus infections will only conspire to delay any recovery. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Dubai: A full recovery for the global airline industry has now been stretched to 2024, a full year longer than the earlier forecast made just weeks ago.

“Consumer confidence is depressed… and in many parts of the world [COVID-19] infections are still rising,” said Alexandre de Juniac, CEO of International Air Transport Association. “All of this points to a longer recovery period - and more pain for the industry.”

Passenger numbers for June were down 86.5 per cent, following a 91 per cent contraction in May.

The industry body blames the updated bleak forecast on the slow virus containment in the US, reduced corporate travel, and weak consumer confidence. it also lowered expectations for 2020 passenger numbers to a 55 per cent decline, compared to the 46 per cent drop it had previously predicted.

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No speedy recovery anywhere

IATA said that there is “little” sign of virus containment in many important emerging economies, which in combination with the US, represent around 40 per cent of the global air travel markets. A recent move by the UK to impose blanket quarantine on all travelers returning from Spain has also hit consumer confidence.

With companies keeping a tight lid on costs and relying on video conferencing more, business travel may have hit a slump, IATA added.

“Domestic traffic improvements notwithstanding, international traffic, which in normal times accounts for close to two-thirds of global air travel, remains virtually non-existent,” said de Juniac.