COVID-19’s impact on long-term traffic forecasts

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Air connectivity is a crucial catalyst in sustainable development. ICAO is enabling the emergence of a coherent and harmonized global regulatory framework, the liberalization of international air transport, and the resolution of infrastructure and airspace capacity constraints in order to ensure the sustainable development of an economically viable civil aviation system.

ICAO carries out this work by facilitating cooperation among States and through the provision of economic policies, regulatory guidance, and accurate, reliable, and consistent aviation data.

The ICAO Secretariat worked with the Multi-Disciplinary Working Group on Long-term Traffic Forecasts and Members of the Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection to develop a set of post-COVID-19 forecasts scenarios by route group from 2018 to 2050. The forecasts have been developed for passenger and freight traffic and revolve around three scenarios: mid, high, and low. During its Third meeting held from 28 to 30 June 2021, the Aviation Data and Analysis Panel approved the post-COVID-19 forecasts scenarios.

The objective of the post-COVID-19 forecasts was to update the passenger Long-Term Forecasts (LTF) to account for both the short term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and eventual long term recovery requires a combination of updated macroeconomic data and recent estimates of the demand shock (measured in changes to Revenue Passenger-Kilometres (RPK)) to the aviation industry.

The freight LTF was re-estimated in a similar manner to the passenger forecasts by using the ICAO LTF models from the 2018 baseline with updated economic forecasts, the extent of the 2020 downturn, and near-term recovery guided by input from the MDWG-LTF and information from the industry.

In these times of uncertainty, the post-covid forecasts scenarios developed by the Secretariat and MDWG-LTF and duly approved by ADAP are expected to facilitate the planning needs of states, airlines, airports, air navigation service providers, and other stakeholders.

Tables of the post-COVID-19 forecasts scenarios are available here. Every month ICAO shares the Air Transport Monitor, which provides a monthly snapshot and analysis of the economic and aviation indicators.

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