As per the latest update, COVID19 has impacted over 210 countries so far and nothing concrete is developed to control the epidemic. Thus, it is not only impacting the country’s health but also hitting on the economy very badly. As a matter of fact, many business models have been impacted and ‘travel’ is one of them. Looking at the spread, it can be said that travel may not become normal until 2023 even post-coronavirus.
The airlines and the travel agencies have staggered across the globe with the impact of the epidemic. But the real question is, how many of them will be able to survive the slowdown? How long will it take for them to recover? And when the industry will recover? Right now, there is no model to draw definite answers to these questions. But, everybody is keen to find them. There is no modern tech to draw these answers.
However, it is believed that the travel industry might not get the same traffic as it was receiving in 2019 until 2023.
According to global travel specialists Atmosphere Research Group, that recovery timeline will slowly stretch out for two full years after COVID-19 is declared as being “under control”. Nevertheless, the recovery will be a gradual return instead of a fast bounce-back. And will be majorly led by domestic travel.
Keeping in mind that the recovery will be a slow process, airlines have started to build their networks. And majorly focusing on the international front. They have a strategic focus on capacity, beginning with key routes to favor fuel-efficient aircraft like Airbus A350 and Boeing 787.
What is the estimated recovery time?
As stated, travel may not be normal until 2023 even post-coronavirus. Even then we cannot conclude that there will be a specific timeframe within which travel will become back to normal. So how do we define what is the estimated recovery time for the industry? First of all, we all will have to assume that COVID-19 is declared as under control towards the end of the year. But as said, the recovery will be slow, hence we divide the time into 4 phases.
So keeping in mind that the “under control” situation of the epidemic is towards the end of the year which means that the first 6-9 months will take us into mid of 2021. So the first 6-9 months of post-coronavirus travel will see a few traveling out. Now as per Atmosphere Research Group, they are termed as ‘tiptoe travelers’.
Basically, this group will consist of travelers going out for personal or leisure-based trips. Although, it is expected that there will be some business travelers too during this period. This group will be better educated and from the highest income groups, suggests the Atmosphere. They can be described as ‘first to fly’ or ‘cabin fever escapees’. Their major focus will be on domestic travel while some will long-range international travel.
Now till this phase, we might land up in mid-2022. The Atmosphere predicts that this group will be termed as ‘pioneers’. And this group will be led by business travelers majorly. Nevertheless, the group will also include mid-to high-tier frequent flyers, with a household income of US$125k and higher. This group will be traveling mainly on international flights.
By now, many will start following the trend and will join the rush. The phase is expected to take place around late 2022. Now, this will be the time when the travel industry will experience a ‘near-normal volume of travelers’. And this phase will experience bookings for the first class and business class. By late 2022, the travel is likely to get back to normal or atleast close to the old normal.
After the COVID-19 is considered under control ( if the COVID-19 is under control by the end of this year), then it will be the time for leisure travelers. They will be the ones who will return and that’s when the industry will reach 80-90% of pre-virus leisure volume. In simple terms, by the end of 2022, the travel industry is expected to receive 80-90% of its traffic volume which was before the virus.
Atmosphere expects that after 24+ months (2023), travel will be “at or above pre-virus traffic”. As if right now, we can only hope that the epidemic gets under control by the end of this year so the recovery can start. It is clear that the virus has impacted the travel industry and the recovery period is too long. There are chances that many might not be able to survive or keep up with the pandemic led slowdown.
Irrespective of the nature of the business, the virus has impacted many others too. During the epidemic, the best we all can do is to stay home and stop the spread so that the situation can be controlled as soon as possible.