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Aviation industry better brace for ‘long haul’ to recovery as air traffic won't pick up until 2023, S&P says

Aviation industry better brace for ‘long haul’ to recovery as air traffic won't pick up until 2023, S&P says
Despite some countries ready to open borders, global passenger traffic is unlikely to return to pre-coronavirus pandemic levels for at least three years, S&P Global Ratings has warned.

In research cited by Bloomberg, the rating agency said that air passenger flows are set to more than halve this year, beating earlier estimates. The future of global air travel now depends on countries opening up and easing restrictions.

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Most European countries are going to open borders in June, while a few have already done so albeit with restrictions. As the volume of flights remains low and airports are struggling for business, S&P said air hubs can face more rating downgrades over the next few months.

“Airports will face increased exposure to volume risk and pressure on their aeronautical revenues, which generally represent over 50% of total revenues,” S&P said, adding that one of the most lucrative sectors for airports’ revenues, retail, could be “even more heavily hit than aeronautical revenues.”

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In March, the agency warned that it expects the air hubs to have “materially weaker cash flows and credit ratios,” and cut ratings of 11 airports since then, including UK’s Heathrow and Aeroports de Paris group, which operates Charles de Gaulle Airport, Orly and Le Bourget.

Another gloomy forecast for the aviation industry comes from the UN tourism agency, which warned that international tourism will suffer its worst decline on record as global travel is set to shrink 70 percent this year.

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