Boeing expects aviation industry to recover despite COVID-19

Global aviation industry will recover and grow again despite the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact, Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said.

The aviation industry is facing an unprecedented shock from the COVID-19 pandemic, the speed and scale of which have not been seen in more than a century.

“From where we stand today, we believe it will take two to three years for air travel to return to 2019 levels, and it will be a few years beyond that for the industry to return to long-term growth trends,” Deal told Xinhua in an interview on Wednesday.

“However, this is a very resilient industry that will recover and grow again,” Deal said.

He argued that the fundamentals that have fuelled air travel globally were still in place, and with a rising middle class in many countries, ongoing innovation in passenger and cargo service and the greater availability of affordable airfares, the long-term outlook for commercial aviation continues to be strong.

Deal said that confidence was based on decades of analysis and insights into customer behaviour and how they responded to prior market shocks.

He recalled that from the very first commercial flight, the aviation industry has defied expectations and overcome challenges, whether it’s learning from accidents, dealing with new regulations or adapting to market shocks.

“After the September 11th attacks, air travel plummeted and some predicted that fear and heightened security would forever dampen demand.”

“Instead, our industry partnered with governments and adapted to the new reality and in the years that followed, we saw above-trend traffic growth and record profitability for the airline industry,” he said, emphasizing that while COVID-19 presents a new set of constraints, airplane manufacturers and airline operators will adapt and find ways to safely serve the flying public.