The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says global air traffic will not return to pre-coronavirus levels until at least 2024, a year later than previously anticipated.

Euronews reports one of the reasons cited by the IATA for the “more pessimistic” outlook, is the slow virus containment in the USA and developing economies.

“Although developed economies outside of the US have been largely successful in containing the spread of the virus, renewed outbreaks have occurred in these economies, and in China,” IATA said.

“Furthermore, there is little sign of the virus containment in many important emerging economies, which in combination with the US, represent 40% of global air travel markets,” it added.

Other factors for the delay include reduced corporate travel and weak consumer confidence, with people postponing travel plans because of concerns over job security, rising unemployment and fears of being infected with COVID-19, Euronews reports.

IATA says it expects enplanement to fall by 55% in 2020 compared to 2019 and stressed that although passenger numbers should rebound by 62% in 2021, it will still be down by nearly a third compared to 2019.

According to Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, the summer season is providing little improvement because many countries remain closed or have imposed “demand-killing quarantines.”

De Juniac called on governments to implement measures to boost confidence in air travel, including “accurate, fast, scalable and affordable” testing and contact tracing measures.

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