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How The Pandemic Changed Aviation In 2020


#Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic was the central theme in the aviation industry during 2020. #From retired aircraft to billion-dollar bailouts and job losses, it is safe to say that a year ago, nobody could’ve predicted where we’d be today. #Let’s take a look at how the pandemic altered aviation in 2020.

2020 has been a tough year for the aviation industry due to the COVID-19 virus. #Photo: #Getty #Images

#Early days

#In the early days of the pandemic, nobody was hugely worried about its impact. #Indeed, members of the #Simple #Flying team remember thinking that it would all blow over.

#Things began to change as the pandemic took hold of #Wuhan, #China. The city was eventually put into a state of lockdown by the #Chinese authorities, leading to the #Airport to close for 11 weeks from late #January to early #April.

Coronavirus airport
#Wuhan #Airport was closed for 11 weeks in the early days of the pandemic. #Photo: #Getty #Images

#However, the virus had already spread outside of the city. #As cases began to rise across #China, airlines such as #British #Airways and the #Lufthansa #Group cut routes to cities in the country, including #Shanghai and #Beijing.

The virus spreads to #Europe

#Despite efforts to contain the virus, it spread to #Europe, initially taking hold of #Italy. The virus became a central talking point at the #Airlines for #Europe conference in #Brussels in #March. #However, airline CEOs still didn’t seem too worried about it at the time, expecting it to blow over.

Ryanair
#Not everybody was too worried about the pandemic in #March. #Photo: #Getty #Images
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#Ryanair CEO #Michael O’#Leary told #Simple #Flying at the time,

“We expect this to evolve and spread in the next, my view is, the next couple of weeks up until the run-up to #Easter. Thereafter, my guess is that you have general temperatures rising, probably a slow down in the spread of the virus across #Europe just as we move from #Spring into #Summer”

#Global travel grinds to a halt

#Unfortunately, O’#Leary was wrong, with the global travel industry grinding to a halt in #April. #His airline was left operating a skeleton service of just 20 routes from #Stansted and #Dublin. #According to data from the TSA, the worst day of the crisis for the #United #States came on #April 14th, when just 87,534 passengers traveled through checkpoints. #For comparison, this sat at 2,208,688 the previous year, giving a drop of 96%.

#Around the world, airlines began parking many aircraft, including the #Airbus A380 and #Boeing 747. #Air #France and #Lufthansa both retired A380s, while #Qantas, KLM, #British #Airways, #Virgin #Atlantic, and others began retiring their 747 fleets ahead of schedule. #Some aircraft spared from retirement still went to aircraft graveyards for storage.

British Airways, Airbus A380, Return
#Travel ground to a halt in #April, with airlines scrambling to find storage space for their planes. #Photo: #Getty #Images

#Bailouts and job losses

#Many airlines sought bailouts from governments to deal with the financial impact of their businesses grinding to a halt. #One of the largest saw #Lufthansa granted a €9 billion ($11 billion) bailout. #Many jobs were also lost as a result of the virus. #In #June, #Lufthansa said that up to 26,000 job cuts were possible, although thankfully, some have since been avoided. #Employees in the #United #States were slightly luckier because the terms of airline payroll assistance blocked layoffs and pay cuts. #This support was recently extended to the end of #March 2021.

#Things started to get better (before the second wave)

#Towards the end of the summer, it looked as though things were getting better. #Many LCCs across #Europe were rapidly increasing their schedules to cope with pent up travel demand. #In #August, #Ryanair carried seven million passengers, only 53% fewer than the previous year. #Meanwhile, TSA figures kept climbing.

Europe, Low-cost carriers, Ryanair
#Summer wasn’t too bad for #European low-cost carriers. #Graph: #Cirium

#Sadly it wasn’t to last as a second wave of the COVID-19 virus began to take hold. #In #November, #Ryanair’s passenger numbers were down 82% to just two million.

#Ending the year with travel bans and hope

#This brings us to the end of the year, which was unexpected for many. #Two new strains of the COVID-19 virus were spotted in the #United #Kingdom and #South #Africa. #This saw many countries blocking travel from the two states right before #Christmas.

There is hope, however. #Vaccines for COVID-19 are starting to be rolled out worldwide. #Many hope that by the end of 2021, they will have returned some normality to the world.

#How do you think COVID-19 affected aviation in 2020? #Let us know your thoughts in the comments!



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https://simpleflying.com/2020-aviation-pandemic-impact/

##Pandemic ##Changed ##Aviation

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