Despite the fact that in 2020 many airlines were forced to cease their activity due to the covid19 pandemic, investors and entrepreneurs – with government support in many cases (30,000 million euros in aid granted in the EU during the pandemic) – have shown its confidence in the aviation sector as one of the engines for the recovery of the post-covid world economy, and for this reason it has already started the appearance of new airlines and the refloating of many of the existing ones.
2020 aerial data
The covid19 pandemic has dropped air traffic to a level not seen in 21 years. Specifically, it fell by 60%. This directly affected the airlines, with losses that have reached up to 370,000 million dollars, according to sources from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
This decline in turn affected the economies of countries like Spain, Italy or Greece – if we stick only to the European Mediterranean arc – which base a large part of their GDP on income derived from tourism. In fact, the lowest point of the fall in air traffic was recorded in April, just on the threshold of the summer season. The total number of passengers at that time had fallen 92% compared to the previous year, with the fall in domestic flights of 87%.
Despite these bad data, the sector experienced a rebound during the summer, where resistance was demonstrated in domestic travel, which was the one that dominated the recovery of air traffic in many countries.
In general terms, the decline in the sector at the end of the year meant a 50% drop in national passenger traffic worldwide, while the number of passengers in international traffic fell by 1.4 billion.
These data did not augur a better 2021, but the birth of new airlines, the implementation of standards and prevention systems, the incipient control of the virus through increasingly massive and effective vaccination campaigns, and the future implementation of what is already known as “health passport” seem to draw a promising future for the air transport industry in this 2021.
Recovery in 2021
Although a drop in revenue of up to 38.7 billion dollars is expected in 2021, this figure cannot be compared to the losses recorded in 2020. On the other hand, the volume of passengers is expected to grow to 2.8 billion. A figure that would continue, however, to be 61% lower than that registered in 2019.
There are different factors to blame for the still incipient growth of the sector.
The European Union is negotiating the creation of a passport that certifies immunity against the coronavirus and, therefore, that allows crossing borders without the need to present PCR tests or undergo quarantines. In addition, the IATA (International Air Transport Association) is developing a mobile application to help travelers manage their trips more easily and safely.
Return of the Boeing 737 MAX
The United States authorized the return to the air of the aircraft in November, following the worldwide suspension imposed as a result of the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10, 2019. Canada and Europe followed the US to give it the green light. In fact, several companies have already ordered airplanes from the well-known manufacturer. As an example, Ryanair ordered 75 new aircraft of this model shortly before Christmas.
During the pandemic, the transport of goods by air suffered, unlike what happened in the transport of passengers, a notable increase (around 30% worldwide) caused by the growth of E-commerce and the transport of material sanitary. With the appearance of various vaccines to combat Covid 19, and the need for rapid distribution worldwide, the most important air cargo operators are fighting for distribution contracts.
Although deeply rooted in the United States, the pandemic has contributed decisively to the use of this means of transport by large corporations in Europe, which have seen in the private jet a way to travel safe from the possible contagions to which Your top executives could be exposed if they travel on a scheduled plane.
To all these factors is added the appearance of new airlines. Next, we reveal some of them.
Despite the data that we have seen before, and the recovery of activity of many companies, new operators are emerging before the opportunity posed by the exit from this great crisis.
Between the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, different projects have been started, especially in Europe and the Asia-Pacific arc. Here are a dozen new companies, among others, that are or will be operational this year.
This is the company that belongs to the Iberostar tourist group with which it intends to fly to strategic locations among its main destinations. He has rented an Airbus A350 to fly to Cuba, Riviera Maya and the Dominican Republic among others.
The new airline created by Germanwings and SunExpress for long-haul leisure routes. It will start flying with an A330, but its fleet is expected to grow in the medium term to reach seven aircraft.
New Norwegian operator that will enter the market in June. The services it intends to cover will be flights between Norway and other popular European destinations. This company seeks to become a new low cost airline for the Norwegian market.
This airline aims to revolutionize the European travel market this year. It plans to operate flights between Iceland, Europe and North America with a fleet of Airbus A321s. It is another low cost airline.
The airline will initially operate a fleet of two 100-seat Embraer E190 aircraft from its base at Milan Malpensa Airport. privately owned Italian regional airline based in Milan, Lombardy.
It has been dubbed ‘the UK’s only low cost international long haul carrier’. It plans to launch this year with scheduled flights to India. As a novelty, it wants to enhance the passenger experience by offering a basic rate that includes an economy seat and a piece of hand luggage with the option of adding express check-in and boarding, plus checked luggage.
This Croatian airline plans to launch in April, and intends to focus on routes from cities on the Adriatic coast such as Dubrovnik, to airports in France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
Startup hopes to replicate the success of its previous airlines by introducing low-cost point-to-point services in underserved mid-size US markets.
Based in Pakistan, it is modeled after a full-service airline. It already offers daily flights to Karachi from Islamabad and Lahore.
Greater Bay Airlines
Based in Hong Kong, the low cost will start with three rented Boeing 737s, it has an ambitious project to expand its fleet to 30 aircraft by 2025.
Wizz Air Abu Dhabi
This operator, a subsidiary of the Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz, is the newest in the United Arab Emirates, it took off on January 15 with its first flight to Athens from Abu Dhabi. The new airline initially announced a route network that also includes Alexandria, Kutaisi, Larnaca, Odessa and Yerevan.
The new South African low cost opened its reservation system last November and began operating on December 10, coinciding with the summer in the southern hemisphere, with services from Johannesburg to Cape Town.