New ICAO Forecast: Potentially 1.2 billion fewer international air travellers by September 2020


Compared to “business-as-usual”, by September 2020 international air passenger totals could drop by as many as 1.2 billion travellers according to the latest projections from ICAO. The estimates also show that international capacity could drop by as much as two-thirds from what had been forecast for the first three quarters this year, leading airline revenues to drop by as much 160 to 253 billion dollars for the January to September period.

Europe and the Asia-Pacific will be hardest hit by the capacity and revenue impacts, followed by North America. Similarly, the most substantial reduction in passenger numbers is expected to be in Europe, especially during its peak summer travel season, followed by the Asia-Pacific.

ICAO has been providing regularly updated analyses on the economic impact of COVID-19 on air transport since early February 2020.

Because air connectivity is so critical to economic and sustainable development in every world region, this information is of critical importance to the many national governments and regional organizations now planning for their COVID-19 economic recoveries.

“As overall severity and duration of the pandemic are still uncertain, ICAO has developed six different recovery paths under two indicative scenarios to explore the potential short-term economic implication of the COVID-19 pandemic,” advised ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu in a message to Representatives of ICAO’s Member States.

The full report was published on 21 April 2020. Along with all other ICAO forecast and guidance materials, the report is available to everyone at no cost through the agency’s COVID-19 information portal.