Many industries were impacted by the Coronavirus, but none quite as heavily as airlines. Within a few weeks, almost all international travel was completely wiped out, with almost two thirds of domestic travel drying up overnight as well. Now that 2021 is upon us, many are hoping that the damage to various industries can be repaired, and that businesses can begin to take steps on the long road to recovery.
However, American airlines in specific have suffered nearly irreparable damage and losses during Coronavirus, seeing numbers of travelers so low that they mirror numbers from the late 90’s.
When analyzing exactly how badly airlines and airports have been impacted, it is important to try and compare the numbers from before and after the Coronavirus. Overall, passenger numbers are down about 67% since this time last year, with a drastic reduction in the overall number of flights. In addition, many countries have strict guidelines for international flights, if they are allowing them at all. Because of all the additional struggles, many smaller airlines completely suspended their operations, with many likely to follow in 2021.
For many, the hope would be that travel completely opens up again once the vaccine is distributed, but the grim reality is that the vaccine won’t be fully accessible for months still, and that there will be many, at least among the American populace, who decide not to take it.
Facing the facts
Out of all the world, North America and the Asia-Pacific were the first to stymie their losses and to begin to rebuild their airline industries. Seven of the top busiest airports are in America, with the other three being located in China. However, some of the most popular airports in America are still struggling to recoup. Famous airports like JFK Airport in New York are being disproportionately affected because much of their travel is international. This has paved the way for airports like Charlotte and Atlanta to pave the way to having more business in the future years.
And, since international travel is still off the tables for many Americans, it is likely that these domestic hubs will continue to be the busiest airports well into 2021. So, for those who are planning to travel, bear with the lower number of flights, and be thankful that some airlines can still offer as many as they do.