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Moody’s Says Passenger Demand Could Lag for Three Years

People expecting to see a quick recovery for the commercial aviation industry will be severely disappointed by a report from Moody’s Investors Service.  Moody’s expects air passenger demand globally to remain severely depressed through 2021 and says a substantial recovery will not occur before 2023.

Moody’s said in its credit outlook that health concerns, changes in corporate travel policies, potential restrictions on international arrivals, and lower discretionary spending because of weaker GDP and higher unemployment will constrain air passenger demand into 2022.  The company predicts a rise in demand in 2023 that could approach passenger levels of 2019, but the uncertainty surrounding the receding of the COVID-19 pandemic creates challenges in the forecasting.

"The industry will undergo substantial permanent structural changes. Potential for failures of weaker airlines and government intervention to leave fewer, larger companies, polarized between more efficient operators and strategic state-supported airlines," said Moody's.