COVID-19: No more 'normal' for aviation

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At first, COVID-19 looked like previous crises: a hit to traffic and revenue followed by a return to normal, even if there was uncertainty about the depth and duration of the hit.

The revenue reduction faced by airlines this year as a result of COVID-19 far exceeds the impact from previous crises. It has the dimensions of a world war. Furthermore, a global recession is now coming in 2020/21 and this means that a recovery will take longer.

Moreover, even after recovery, 'normal' will not be the same as before. There are likely to be lasting impacts on demand for air travel. As a result of lockdowns, or near lockdowns, across the planet, people are fast learning new ways to live their lives, both at work and at leisure.

More than ever before, technology is now a more realistic and more widely used substitute instead of business travel by air. Even after COVID-19 has passed, aviation may also face a residual loss of confidence from passengers over travel, for fear of close contact with others.

In addition, the crisis may give an additional push to environmental campaigns against aviation.

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