This is how the global aviation industry looks now

Departure / Arrivals display at the airport (Source: Chuttersnap / Unsplash)

Airlines, airports, travel agencies and other organizations in the global travel and aviation industry are struggling to survive during the COVID-19 pandemic. The worldwide aviation industry is in a serious crisis and it may take years to recover. During the crisis, some airlines could go out of business. Others have to significantly reconsidering their operations in order to stay fit for the future. Currently, airlines fly only half of the flights that were initially scheduled. Although, a small recovery seems to be starting slowly, according to data by OAG.

Route network

One of the most obvious consequences for the Corona crisis is the limited availability of flights and destinations. Key reasons for this are the frequently changing entry restrictions. But also think about measures like durations of (compulsory) quarantine, carrying a negative COVID test and health declarations.

Despite all this, some airlines seems to make a slow restart, especially in Europe. Carriers like KLM, Lufthansa and British Airways are constantly evaluating what destinations to offer and which to temporarily terminate due to regional measures. For more information on international travel advisory please check the ‘IATA COVID-19 Travel regulations map‘ (powered by Timatic).

Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (Source: Etihad)
Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (Source: Etihad)

Amount of flights

In many countries the amount of flights is much lower than what would normally be the case. For most larger countries airlines’ fly about 50% less compared to last year. Flight between two countries in some cases even dropped with 95%. Think about flights between the US and the United Kingdon. But also between the US and Canada. Many Asian countries also still process much less flights than before. This is of course due to the entry restrictions in place. 

The biggest American carriers reduced flights with up to 50% last month. Surprisingly, China Eastern and China Southern only reduced flights by a mere 5-10%. This is due to the fact that China wants to keep cities connected by air and sometimes sends nearly empty aircraft to fly.

The amount of flights by US carriers differs, but is also at least 40-50% less compared to last year. American Airlines, Delta, United and Southwest are all impacted with at least 42% less flights.

All big airports in the world show a very slow performance when it’s about flight movements. Beijing Capital, Atlanta and Tokyo Haneda all processed more than 2 million flights in August. But that was 40% less compared to last year. 


Another phenomenon that is very visible are the precautionary measures that airlines, airports and travel organizations take to protect passengers and crew against the Coronavirus. This has also a big impact on the global aviation industry. Think about compulsory face mask usage while at the airport and during the flight. And some airlines even preventively block middle seats to improve social distancing. Next to that, several airlines hand out hygiene kits to all passengers. Cargo airline Cargolux even provided a Boeing 747 with a face mask. Of course meant as a warning to other airlines. 

Delta extends onboard social distancing by blocking middle seats (Source: Delta)
Delta extends onboard social distancing by blocking middle seats (Source: Delta)


  1. geoff davies says

    I want to get away by Dec,just hope I can.the airline business like many are suffering.Lets hope we all can book a flight and get away

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