Will Aviation Make a Return in 2021?

With the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine and a possible end to this pandemic in 2021, is the aviation industry finally making a comeback in this new year? The answers are uncertain right now, but in this article, we will try to analyze and predict the future of the aviation industry.

Last year, the aviation industry was been hit harder than ever and almost all airlines reported tremendous losses and declines. The novel coronavirus forced people to quarantine at home and avoid travel. With a record-low passenger demand in 2020, the airline industry plummeted and sent most of their fleets into storage. Numerous flights were cancelled and the aviation industry reported a total loss of over $118 billion last year. Many people also lost their jobs as a result of this. According to the IATA, 2020 was the worst financial year in aviation history. Now, in 2021, the question is whether the aviation industry will recover from this blow from 2020.

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From a general viewpoint, the answer is yes, the aviation industry will recover in 2021. With coronavirus vaccines being developed and distributed around the world, people may believe that the virus will be under control and things will be back to normal. This is, however, only partially true. While it’s almost certain that the aviation industry will improve from the creation of the vaccine, the idea that the industry will recover fully is probably not going to happen soon. The problem is that the vaccine is going to take a very long time to be distributed and given to everyone in the world. This process isn’t going to complete in 2021 alone, which means that the aviation industry won’t be making a complete return in 2021. Even if the vaccine were given to everyone in the world, it would still be unlikely for the industry to be making a full return, since many people will feel uneasy and anxious in an environment with people without masks, since wearing a mask was the norm in 2020.

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Year 2021 is projected to be not as devastating as its predecessor. The IATA predicts that the industry will reduce losses to $38 billion in 2021, which is a great improvement from 2020. More passengers are predicted to fly in this new year and the whole industry is expecting an improvement. As the virus is getting more under control and as more people return to the skies, 2021 is seemingly looking up for the aviation industry. The aviation industry won’t be as successful in 2021 as years prior to the virus, but conditions should almost certainly improve this year.  

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In the end, the aviation industry unfortunately probably won’t be making a full return with levels similar to 2019 in 2021. In fact, the industry may not be completely back to “normal” for a couple of years. Aside from these temporary setbacks in the aviation industry due to the pandemic, permanent marks have also been engraved into the industry with the retirement of several aircraft. For a full comeback, the aviation industry will have to slowly recover step by step over the next few years. When the industry finally comes back to normal, this pandemic will be remembered as one of the most infamous parts of aviation history.

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Sources:

https://www.iata.org/en/pressroom/pr/2020-06-09-01/

https://www.iata.org/en/pressroom/pr/2020-11-24-01/

Cover image credited to Bloomberg

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