Global aviation industry group International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released a new loss projection for the year 2021, which sees the airline sector losing less than last year when the pandemic hit.

According to the IATA – whose figures last year estimated a loss of $126.4 billion for the aviation industry – this year’s overall deficiency will only be at $47.7 billion

IATA Director General Willie Walsh attributed the significant decrease in losses to an increase in flight activity. However, he notes that the industry is still suffering as it is. 

He shared that airlines all over the world will still feel the effects of the pandemic, further burning through a forecasted $81 billion. 

“Despite an estimated 2.4 billion people traveling by air in 2021, airlines will burn through a further $81 billion of cash,” Walsh said in a report. 

“This crisis is longer and deeper than anyone could have expected,” he added. 

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, airlines all over the world fell off the skies one by one – with travel restrictions and lockdowns incapacitating the sector.

Although the status of airlines all over the globe is not as bad as it was last year, the industry is still expected to lag when it comes to recovery, specifically for international travel. 

IATA says 2021 will recover 43% of 2019’s overall travel levels. Total passengers are expected to number 2.4 billion for this year alone, an improvement from last year’s 1.8 billion. 

In IATA’s report, North American airlines are set to manage better with losses at $5 billion instead of $11 billion. The significant decrease has been attributed to the domestic flight market’s increasing operations. 

Meanwhile, European airlines are projected to see $22 billion in losses compared to the $12 billion earlier forecasted by the aviation organization. The IATA says this is due to slower vaccinations in the continent and restrictions not being eased fast enough.

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