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Fitch sees only partial recovery of Asia-Pacific airline traffic in 2021

Fitch Ratings is estimating that airline passenger traffic in the Asia-Pacific will not fully recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic even in the year 2021.

Fitch’s median scenario is that a vaccine or treatment will not become available at scale in 2021, but that progress is nevertheless made in controlling the pandemic.

“Airline passenger volume could improve faster than we forecast if an effective vaccine is distributed sooner than we believe or if there is more success in containing the pandemic. However, we foresee flat demand in 2021 that is well below the 2019 base should there be limited progress on this measure,” the commentary states.

China may be better off than some markets, with Fitch believing that domestic airline traffic there could recover to 2019 levels next year should the nation avoid another wave of the pandemic.

India, however, Fitch projects will have a much rougher time of it, remaining at 60 percent of 2019 levels throughout next year.

Fitch anticipates that Vietnam will lead the recovery in Southeast Asia, but still only reaching 90 percent of 2019 levels in 2021. Indonesia and the Philippines are seen as lagging at around the same levels of recovery as in India.

Finally, the commentary asserts that in Australia “a meaningful recovery will be delayed to the middle of 2021, as governments of the three most populous states - comprising the Golden Triangle route between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane - indicate that borders may only reopen toward the end of this year.” The full recovery, they project, will come near the end of 2021 or in early 2022.

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