Global airlines less hopeful on COVID-19 recovery

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Global airlines cut their coronavirus recovery forecast on Tuesday, saying it would take until 2024 – a year longer than previously expected – for passenger traffic to return to pre-crisis levels.

In an update on the pandemic’s crippling impact on air travel, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) cited slow virus containment in the United States and developing countries, and a weaker outlook for corporate travel.

Lingering travel barriers and new restrictions in some markets are also weighing on nearer-term prospects, IATA said, cutting its 2020 passenger numbers forecast to a 55% decline – sharper than the 46% drop predicted in April.

“The second half of this year will see a slower recovery than we’d hoped,” IATA Chief Economist Brian Pearce said. June passenger numbers were down 86.5% year-on-year, the organisation said, after a 91% contraction in May.