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Air travel not expected to recover before end of 2024 — IATA

By JT - Oct 21,2020 - Last updated at Oct 21,2020

Demand for flights in the Middle East is expected to increase by 45 per cent of 2019 levels to reach 90 million travellers in the region in 2021, according to IATA (JT file photo)

AMMAN — The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Wednesday anticipated that Middle East air travel will not recover and record the same levels of 2019 before the end of 2024, downgrading its previous forecast to reflect a slower-than-expected recovery of 2020.

IATA, in a statement cited by the Jordan News Agency, Petra, said that demand for flights in the Middle East is expected to increase by 45 per cent of 2019 levels to reach 90 million travellers in the region in 2021.

The association also said that in 2020, passenger numbers in the Middle East are forecast to reach only 30 per cent of 2019 levels, down from the 45 per cent that was projected in last July.

According to the statement, the number of passengers in the Middle East will reach 45 million during this year, compared with the 155 million passengers recorded in 2019.

IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East Muhammad Al Bakri said that resuming air traffic in the Middle East is relatively slow, which results in the aviation industry continuing to incur high financial losses.

Previous preconditions anticipated that the number of passengers will reach 45 per cent of 2019 levels, while continuing travel restrictions and quarantine measures show that aviation traffic in the region will be less than a third of what was registered in 2019. 

Bakri also called on countries to adopt a unified COVID-19 testing system to resume air travel and face the economic devastation caused.

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