IATA again downgrades outlook for global air travel

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IATA forecasted 2020 global air travel to be down 66% year over year.
IATA forecasted 2020 global air travel to be down 66% year over year.

IATA has once again downgraded its full-year 2020 global air travel forecast, reflecting a downturn in European travel demand amid a new surge in Covid-19 cases as well as other new restrictions in portions of the world.

The global airlines trade group now projects full-year 2020 traffic to be down 66% compared with 2019. Its previous forecast was of a 63% plunge.

IATA said that the recovery of air passenger service globally came to a halt in mid-August.

"August's disastrous traffic performance puts a cap on the industry's worst-ever summer season. International demand recovery is virtually nonexistent, and domestic markets in Australia and Japan actually regressed in the face of new outbreaks and travel restrictions," IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac said.

Across the globe, domestic passenger markets were off 50.9% in August, while international flying remained down a stunning 88.3% year over year.

In North America, international traffic in August was down 92.4%, IATA said. For the U.S., domestic flying was down 69.3%. 

In Europe, international demand was down 79.9% year over year in August. But IATA said travel on the Continent is now trending even worse amid a return to lockdowns and quarantines in some markets.

"Absent additional government relief measures and a reopening of borders," de Juniac said, "hundreds of thousands of airline jobs will disappear."

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