You simply cannot overestimate or exaggerate how damaging the COVID-19 pandemic has been to airlines across the globe. But now a very well respected security consulting firm is predicting that air travel may return to 2019 levels by the end of 2021.
This would be good news indeed as the travel and tourism industries have been devastated by a crises larger and longer than 9/11 or the 2018 financial crash.
Crisis24 part of GardaWorld recently released their annual security report where they lay out various threats for the year ahead. Their 2021 Global Risk Forecast has some upbeat news for commercial aviation.
It Starts With A Vaccine
Crisis24 predicts that airlines will be eager to woo back corporate travelers as the pandemic subsides. This should mean low fares, ample schedules, and we would add, strong elite bonuses.
“The first six months after the COVID-19 vaccine becomes widely available will likely see airlines restore the majority of their pre-pandemic schedules. Instances in countries that have controlled the COVID-19 pandemic suggest that the public will be eager to travel and that airlines will add flights faster than they previously expected to accommodate the high demand. “
However they also note that this return to the air will be fraught with security issues as parked planes will have to be inspected and made air-worthy, pilots who have been furloughed may need additional training, and there still will be a risk of catching COVID during international travel.
As countries roll out vaccines and the world hits a threshold where herd immunity kicks in and case counts drop, then confidence will rise, and there will be a pent up demand for both leisure and business travel.
The report’s final analysis says that, “The airline industry will likely defy projections of a long-term slump in air travel following the COVID-19 pandemic, and it would not be surprising to see passenger numbers at the end of 2021 to be at least 90 percent of what they were at the end of 2019.”
Even the hope that air travel may return to 2019 levels by the end of 2021 will help keep airlines, their employee and avid fliers optimistic through the next few months.