The pandemic has made 21 years of air travel growth disappear. getty
More than two decades of growth in air travel has been erased during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new report by air travel data analytics company Cirium. In less than a year, the number of air travelers has dropped by 67% compared to 2019, boomeranging back to levels last seen in 1999.
Unsurprisingly, the raw number of flights flown also dropped precipitously last year. During the period from January 1 to December 20, 2020, 16.8 million scheduled passenger flights were completed globally. That’s a 49% drop from the 33.2 million flights from the same period in 2019.
Meanwhile, domestic flights were down 40% for 2020. Over 13 million domestic flights were flown this year in the United States, compared to 21.5 million in the same period in 2019, per Cirium’s calculations.
The pandemic brought airline travel back to 1999 levels. Cirium
In 2020, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was the world’s busiest airport in the both North America and the world, handling over 245,000 arriving flights. Cirium data analysis recorded Southwest Airlines operating the most flights both in North America and globally, with 854,800 flights in total.
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South Korea had the world’s busiest air route last year, with 70,700 flights operated between Seoul and the island of Jeju.
The pandemic has decimated the gobal airline industry and led to more than 40 carriers worldwide completely ceasing or suspending operations, according to the Cirium report.