Economic Impacts of COVID-19 on Civil Aviation


In light of the rapidly spreading disease named as COVID-19, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) actively monitors its economic impacts on civil aviation and regularly publishes updated reports and adjusted forecasts*. The latest version can be viewed here and all full reports are available further below.


ICAO is working alongside the Airport Council International (ACI) in monitoring the developments and to leverage their expertise and analysis conducted on the economic impacts of COVID-19 on airports.  


Analysis of economic impacts of COVID-19 by State / restrictions


When assessing the economic impacts on civil aviation, ICAO takes into account 3 scenarios:


    1. Baseline : hypothetical situation without COVID-19 outbreak with forecast as originally planned based on results from previous years;
    2. Scenario 1 - "Mild" : seat capacity is estimated by airlines' schedule changes; load factor applied the same % as baseline in January, added a 15 and 12 percentage points lower than baseline in February and March, respectively (15 percentage points lower in March for Korea, Iran and Italy) - indicated with a 
    3. Scenario 2 - "Severe" : seat capacity is estimated by airlines' schedule changesload factor applied the same % as baseline in January, added a 25 and 22 percentage points lower than baseline in February and March, respectively (25 percentage points lower in March for Korea, Iran and Italy) - indicated with a ;


* Please note that these figures are subject to frequent updates based on data available to ICAO.


Effects on trans-Atlantic air traffic between US and Schengen area and UK/Ireland




Effects on China

The preliminary estimates indicate the impact in terms of scheduled international passenger traffic from/to China (including Hong Kong SAR of China, Macao SAR of China, Taiwan, Province of China, and cross-strait services) during 1Q 2020 compared to originally-planned:




Effects on Italy




Effects on the Republic of Korea



Effects on the Islamic Republic of Iran



ICAO Reports on the Effects of COVID-19 on Civil Aviation


​Date of Report
​Included updates
​Download PDF Report
​26-Mar-2020
  • ​Preliminary global-level analysis with extension until June 2020

​25-Mar-2020
  • ​New analysis on worldwide impacts for Q1 2020 with regional breakdown

​24-Mar-2020
  • ​Regional analysis added;
  • Integration of airport estimates from ACI

​23-Mar-2020
  • Updates on country-level analysis;
  • Gradual shift towards a global-level focus

​20-Mar-2020
  • Analysis on global capacity change per country/territory​

​19-Mar-2020
  • Adjustment to regional route estimates: China including​ Hong Kong/Macao SARs and the Province of Taiwan; as well as Iran

​18-Mar-2020
  • ​Scenario assumptions on load factor adjusted to reflect operating results from Feb 2020;
  • Models for Korea and Italy fine-tuned.

​17-Mar-2020
  • ​Updated analysis of China, Hong Kong/Macao SARs and the inclusion of Taiwan, Province of China
  • Updated structure to a global-level analysis

​16-Mar-2020
  • ​Update on Korea, Italy and Iran, as well as US-Schengen impacts

​13-Mar-2020
  • Update on Italy and US-Schengen impacts

​12-Mar-2020
  • Preliminary analysis of economic impact on US-Schengen air traffic due to new US travel policy​

​11-Mar-2020
  • ​Updates on Italy with current lockdown-related changes to schedules;
  • Preliminary analysis to Japan and Singapore added

​10-Mar-2020
  • Update on Italy due to current lockdown​

​09-Mar-2020
  • ​Updates with latest schedule changes filed by airlines;
  • Full analysis on Iran.

​06-Mar-2020
  • New summary page; separate analysis for Korea and Italy under the same format;
  • Adjustment to China domestic ​

​05-Mar-2020
  • Enhanced analysis of Republic of Korea;
  • New analysis on Italy​

​04-Mar-2020
  • Updates on China, Macao and Hong Kong SAR reflecting further schedule updates​

​03-Mar-2020
  • Further adjustments to previous update

​02-Mar-2020
  • ​Main scenario analysis updated with latest changes of March schedules

​28-Feb-2020
  • ​Initial analysis of scheduled international passenger service from/to Mongolia

​27-Feb-2020
  • Initial analysis of scheduled international passenger service from/to Iran​

​26-Feb-2020
  • Initial analysis of scheduled international passenger services from/to Republic of Korea​

​25-Feb-2020
  • Update on Macao's figure and regional break-down of airline revenue loss​

​24-Feb-2020
  • Updated scenarios to reflect schedule changes filed by airlines​

​21-Feb-2020
  • Preliminary estimates of Chinese domestic impact​



Economic Context for Civil Aviation

Aviation provides the only rapid worldwide transportation network, which makes it essential for global business. It generates economic growth, creates jobs, and facilitates  international trade and tourism.


Source: Aviation Benefits Report, 2019


The air transport industry supports a total of 65.5  million jobs globally. It provides 10.2 million direct jobs.  Airlines, air navigation service providers and airports directly employs around three and a half million people. The civil  aerospace sector (the manufacture of aircraft, systems and  engines) employs 1.2 million people. A further 5.6 million people work in other on-airport positions. Another 55.3 million indirect, induced and tourism-related jobs are supported  by aviation.



One of the industries that relies most heavily on aviation is tourism. By facilitating tourism, air transport helps  generate economic growth and alleviate poverty. Currently, approximately 1.4 billion tourists are crossing borders every  year, over half of whom travelled to their destinations by air. In 2016, aviation supported almost 37 million jobs within the  tourism sector, contributing roughly USD 897 billion a year to global GDP.

Both air passenger traffic and air freight traffic are expected to  more than double in the next two decades. Forecasts indicate that in 2036, aviation will provide 98 million jobs and generate USD 5.7 trillion in GDP - i.e. a 110% increase from 2016.



Source: Aviation Benefits Report 2019, IHLG




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