Passenger numbers to exceed pre-Covid levels in 2023
Global airline passenger numbers will surpass pre-Covid levels in 2023, forecasts Iata.
Iata predicts that global passenger numbers will recover to 52 per cent of 2019 levels in 2021; 88% in 2022; and 105 per cent in 2023. Passenger numbers are expected to have grown to 5.6 billion by 2030, which is seven per cent below the pre-pandemic forecast.
The report reveals that the pandemic will have cost the industry two to three years of growth in air travel. Despite this, Iata director general Willie Walsh said that he was always “optimistic about aviation”.
“We are in the deepest and gravest crisis in our history. But the rapidly growing vaccinated population and advancements in testing will return the freedom to fly in the months ahead. And when that happens, people are going to want to travel.”
Walsh urged governments to remove restrictions to allow air travel to bounce back.
He added: “The immediate challenge is to reopen borders, eliminate quarantine measures and digitally manage vaccination/testing certificates. At the same time, we must assure the world that aviation’s long-term growth prospects are supported with an unwavering commitment to sustainability. Both challenges require governments and industry to work in partnership. Aviation is ready. But I don’t see governments moving fast enough.”
MSC Virtuosa set sail on its maiden voyage from Southampton last month, marking the restart of cruising in the UK after 14 months. The ship, operated by MSC Cruises, welcome its first 1,000 guests on board, both vaccinated and non-vaccinated, with everyone tested at embarkation.
Gianni Onorato, CEO, MSC Cruises, said, “We are, of course, incredibly proud that MSC Virtuosa’s first ever sailing heralds the resumption of cruise holidays from British ports and we would like to thank the UK government and other local authorities for their support to us and the overall cruise industry to allow domestic cruising to restart.”
Viking Venus, which is the newest vessel to join Viking’s ocean fleet of identical sister ships, has also set sail the first of its Welcome Back coastal sailings.
On Viking, there are frequent non-invasive saliva PCR tests for all guests and crew throughout the itinerary, processed in the onboard laboratory. Physical distancing will be in place and masks may be required on board, while Viking has said that, until at least September 30, 2021, all Viking sailings will be available exclusively for vaccinated guests.
Meanwhile, more cruise lines – including AmaWaterways, Hurtigruten Norway and Uniworld – have revealed details about their resumption plans, as momentum builds for the cruise industry.