The aviation industry was flourishing fuelled by global economic growth and business and leisure travel before the COVID-19 pandemic. The coronavirus outbreak, however, brought the global aviation industry to a grinding halt as countries closed borders and temporarily closed their skies for international air passengers.

More than 70% of global aviation fleet is grounded due to the coronavirus outbreak measures implemented worldwide.

Aviation experts note that the industry may take up to five years to return to levels witnessed before COVID-19, as quoted by Airbus.

Verdict has conducted a poll to assess whether the recovery of civil aviation will be V, U or L-shaped, when it recovers.

Analysis of the poll results shows that the recovery could be U-shaped as opined by a majority 45% of the poll respondents.

While 28% of the respondents voted that the recovery would be L-shaped, a similar number of 27% felt the recovery would be V-shaped.

Civil aviation recovery

The analysis is based on 361 responses received to a poll completed by readers of Verdict’s Aerospace Technology site between 04 May and 18 June.

Commercial aerospace to lose a decade of air passenger growth

Passenger demand in the second quarter of 2020 plunged as restrictions due to COVID-19 led to the shutdown of domestic and international travel. Demand declined drastically in April by 94.3%, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), in the largest ever dip in the last 30 years.

Commercial aerospace is projected to lose at least a decade of air passenger growth, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics provider.

Air passenger traffic is projected to decline by anywhere from 46% to 62% in 2020, according to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Further, airlines are expected to lose between $289bn and $387bn in potential operating revenues in 2020.

Aviation recovery may not be quick: GlobalData

Considering the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry may not have a quick or V-shaped recovery, according to GlobalData.

The most likely shape for recovery of the aviation industry is expected to be a prolonged U-shaped recovery, according to the IATA.

Domestic travel is expected to return to normal faster than international. Government support and tax reliefs for airlines would play a key role in the recovery of the industry.