Airports of Thailand (AoT) says the aviation industry is making steady progress in recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic and is forecasting a full recovery by the end of 2024. The AoT believe that in a year and a half, airplane and passenger traffic will finally recover to the levels they were at in 2019.
The current prediction is that flight traffic will reach about one-third of the pre-pandemic levels by the end of this fiscal year, a total of about 45 million passengers, both international and domestic. They expect a dramatic increase in travellers next year when they are forecasting a recovery of 77% of pre-pandemic travel, about 96 million passengers. Then the full recovery numbers in 2024 are expected to hit 142 million passengers in the skies above Thailand.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation and the International Air Transport Association agree with the AoT’s assessment, forecasting a full recovery for the aviation industry only in 2024. The president of the AoT said that they are prepared after travel restrictions were removed to be operating the full throttle.
The same cannot be said, however, of all the cargo warehouses, ground services, and even some airlines. With borders snapping closed at the onset of the pandemic and remaining that way for years, the travel industry and the aviation industry were among the hardest hit by Covid. Many aviation businesses struggled to stay solvent and the pandemic terrorised supply chains and liquidity. Some airlines are in special financial rehabilitation programs.
Cost-cutting efforts have reduced the number of flights and routes by up to half, making it difficult to immediately bounce back now that there’s more customer demand. Many aviation businesses are struggling to rescale back up and, even with the growing tourism, 2022 is expected to operate at a loss for the industry as a whole.
The AoT says they’re hoping that 2023 will finally see a return to profitability for the airline industry and the related businesses, but it still depends on many sectors’ performances, and whether key demographics like Chinese tourists return to travel in Thailand in the numbers forecast.
Published The Thaiger 26.July 2022