Pandemic could cut 1.2 billion airline passengers

Europe and Asia Pacific expected to see biggest reduction in numbers, ICAO says

by AFP
Pandemic could cut 1.2 billion airline passengers
The International Civil Aviation Organisation says airline capacity could be slashed with revenues down by up to a quarter of a billion dollars. File photo: AFP 

The coronavirus pandemic could mean 1.2 billion fewer airline passengers worldwide by September, the International Civil Aviation Organization said on Wednesday.

The "most substantial reduction in passenger numbers," the UN agency said in a statement, "is expected to be in Europe, especially during its peak summer travel season, followed by the Asia-Pacific."

Airline capacity could also be significantly slashed, it said, resulting in a drop in airline revenues in the first nine months of the year by as much as $160-253 billion.

The projections are more dire than the ICAO's initial estimates in February when the outbreak seemed to be mostly localized in China, where almost all of the first 1,400 COVID-19 deaths were recorded.

The ICAO said then that the airline industry was facing a $4-5 billion drop in revenue.