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Airlines operated 97% fewer flights in 2020 as passenger traffic growth fell by 67%

by LLB staff reporter
4th Feb 21 3:06 pm

The year 2020 was one of the most challenging years for the aviation industry. The passenger traffic during the year fell by 67% year-over-year (YoY).

According to the research data analyzed and published by Comprar Acciones, between January 1 and December 20, 2020, there were a total of 16.8 million flights. That was 97% lower than the 33.2 million recorded during a similar period in 2019.

Based on a report by IATA, 2020 was the aviation industry’s worst year financially. Annual revenue amounted to $328 billion, down from $838 billion in 2019.

Asia Pacific Airlines to Post $7.5 Billion Loss in 2021

Airlines recorded 2.9 trillion passenger kilometers worldwide in 2020, compared to 8.7 trillion in 2019. Passenger traffic was down to levels last seen in 1999, erasing 21 years of growth.

Domestic flights dropped by 40% year-over-year (YoY) while international flights fell by 68%. North America and Asia Pacific started on a recovery path faster than other regions. Seven out of the 10 busiest airports globally were in the US while three were in China.

Passenger numbers fell by 61% YoY from 4.5 billion to 1.8 billion in 2020, a level last seen in 2003. Demand plunged 66% and load factor sank to 65.5%, the lowest level on record since 1993. In turn, that led to a huge passenger revenue drop, from $612 billion in 2019 to $191 billion.

According to a study by IATA, cash burn will continue through 2021, leading to a net loss of $38.7 billion by the end of the year. Asia Pacific airlines are expected to lead the recovery. While they lost $31.7 billion in 2020, they are projected to lose only $7.5 billion in 2021. Comparatively, North American airlines will lose about $11 billion.

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