Amid coronavirus pandemic, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) pointed out that the numbers for global air passenger plunged 14 per cent in the month of February, marking the steepest decline in Traffic since September 11 attacks in 2001. The association also noted that the global numbers have slumped 14.1 per cent year-on-year in February, while the drop for carriers in the Asia Pacific region was 41 per cent.
Alexandre de Juniac, head of IATA said, “Airlines were hit by a sledgehammer called COVID-19 in February”.
Last month, according to a report released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) also stated that the international air passenger demand witnessed a dip as several countries across the world imposed sudden travel restrictions. As per the preliminary traffic figures released, Asia has experienced a 43.9 per cent year-on-year fall in the number of international passengers carried to a combined 17 million in February. Meanwhile, the revenue passenger kilometres demand fell by 34.8 per cent and 20.6 per cent drop in available seat capacity was witnessed.
AAPA Director General Andrew Herdman also reportedly stated that the Asian airlines saw passenger demand for international air travel demand plunge in February due to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. He added that for the first two months of the year, the number of passengers travelling on Asian airlines fell by 21 per cent to 50 million passengers. Herdman also stated that while the pandemic has posed an unprecedented challenge and while some governments have moved quickly to provide financial support, much more needs to be done to reduce the risk of permanent damage.
Meanwhile, coronavirus, which originated in China in December 2019, has now claimed over 49,000 lives worldwide as of April 2. According to the tally by international news agency, the pandemic has now spread to 203 countries and has infected more than 962,000 people. Out of the total infections, 200,000 have been recovered but the easily spread virus is continuing to disrupt many lives. Major cities have been put under lockdown in almost all countries including Spain, and the economy is struggling.