THE International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) said the number of plane passengers fell last year as the coronavirus pandemic halted global travel.

According to ICAO said that the total number of domestic and international passengers reached 1.8 billion in 2020. That number is down from 60% or 4.5 billion passengers compared to the previous year or 2019. The spread of the corona virus has caused governments around the world to restrict international travel and urge its citizens to stay home only. These measures reduced domestic air traffic by 50% and international by 74%.

ICAO noted the decline in global airline revenue reached US$370 billion and it threatens millions of jobs around the world. In addition, for the full year to 31 December 2020, ICAO found 51% fewer passenger seats offered by airlines compared to 2019. Overall, ICAO estimates airlines worldwide lost US$391 billion in gross operating revenue.

The ICAO analysis confirms what many of us already know. 2020 starts on an optimistic note for most airlines. But with just two months, the virus has brought the aviation industry to a standstill.

By the end of March 2020, airlines banned their flights, and in some cases, suspended 100% or all of their flights. April 2020 is a low point for the aviation industry. Traffic is down 92% over the same period in 2019.

The rebound is short-lived and sporadic as each country battles the next wave of COVID-19 with different methods and different levels of success. [antaranews/photo special]