The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released the IATA World Air Transport Statistics (WATS) publication with performance figures for 2020 demonstrating the devastating effects on global air transport during that year of the COVID-19 crisis.
IATA said 1.8 billion passengers flew in 2020, a decrease of 60.2% compared to the 4.5 billion who flew in 2019, while industry-wide air travel demand (measured in revenue passenger-kilometers, or RPKs) dropped by 65.9% year-on-year. Also, international passenger demand (RPKs) decreased by 75.6% compared to the year prior, and domestic air passenger demand (RPKs) dropped by 48.8% compared to 2019.
Further, air connectivity declined by more than half in 2020 with the number of routes connecting airports falling dramatically at the outset of the crisis and was down more than 60% year-on-year in April 2020. Total industry passenger revenues fell by 69% to $189 billion in 2020, and net losses were $126.4 billion in total, IATA also added, noting that the decline in air passengers transported in 2020 was the largest recorded since global RPKs started being tracked around 1950.
“2020 was a year that we’d all like to forget. But analyzing the performance statistics for the year reveals an amazing story of perseverance. At the depth of the crisis in April 2020, 66% of the world’s commercial air transport fleet was grounded as governments closed borders or imposed strict quarantines. A million jobs disappeared. And industry losses for the year totaled $126 billion. Many governments recognized aviation’s critical contributions and provided financial lifelines and other forms of support. But it was the rapid actions by airlines and the commitment of our people that saw the airline industry through the most difficult year in its history,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director-General.
Looking at key 2020 airline performance figures from WATS, for passengers, IATA said systemwide, airlines carried 1.8 billion passengers on scheduled services, a decrease of 60.2% over 2019. On average, there was a $71.7 loss incurred per passenger in 2020, corresponding to net losses of $126.4 billion in total. Measured in ASKs (available seat kilometers), global airline capacity plummeted by 56.7%, with international capacity being hit the hardest with a reduction of 68.3%, IATA added.
Also, the systemwide passenger load factor dropped to 65.1% in 2020, compared to 82.5% the year prior.
The Middle East region suffered the largest proportion of loss for passenger traffic* with a drop of 71.5% in RPKs versus 2019, followed by Europe (-69.7%) and the Africa region (-68.5%). China became the largest domestic market in 2020 for the first time on record, as air travel rebounded faster in their domestic market following their efforts to control COVID-19.
The regional rankings (based on total passengers carried on scheduled services by airlines registered in that region) showed that Asia-Pacific recorded 780.7 million passengers, a decrease of 53.4% compared to the region’s passengers in 2019. North America had 401.7 million passengers, down 60.8% over 2019, while Europe got only 389.9 million passengers, down 67.4%. over 2019. Latin America had 123.6 million passengers, down 60.6% over 2019; and the Middle East, 76.8 million passengers, a decrease of 67.6% over 2019. Africa in its part got 34.3 million passengers, down 65.7% over 2019, IATA disclosed.
For Cargo, IATA said, “Airfreight was the bright spot in air transport for 2020, as the market adapted to keep goods moving—including vaccines, personal protective equipment (PPE) and vital medical supplies—despite the massive drop in capacity from the bellies of passenger aircraft.”
Ethiopian Airline To Resume Flight To Enugu Oct. 1st
The Ethiopian Airline said on Sunday it would resume flights to Enugu as from Oct. 1, two years after it suspended flight to the South-Eastern state.
The airline’s General Manager, Shimeles Arage, who confirmed the proposed resumption in a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday, said that every week there would be a flight on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, with B787 Dreamliner.
“Oct. 1 is Nigeria’s Independence Day and the flight to Enugu on that day will reinforce Ethiopian Airline good relations with Nigeria since the first flight to Nigeria in 1960,” he said.
Arage recalled that the airline stopped flights to Enugu in 2019 when the Nigerian aviation authorities closed the airport to refurbish the runway.
He said before the closure of the airport for runway repairs, Ethiopian was the only international airline flying to Enugu.
The airport was officially re-opened to domestic flights in 2020 and to international flights in Aug. 2021.
New Research Reveals Top Residence-by-Investment Cities for Business
In response to a dramatically changing global landscape, with business and talent relocation on the rise for a host of factors — from the US-China trade wars, to Covid-19 and remote work, and the G20 proposal for a global minimum corporate income tax — Henley & Partners in partnership with Deep Knowledge Analytics today launched the Best Residence-by-Investment Cities for Business Index.
This unique new index ranks the leading 25 capitals and cities around the world that international entrepreneurs, company owners, professionals and HNWIs can acquire residence in through investment migration programs. Using an interactive tool, users can select the different factors that matter most to them to make strategic, data-driven decisions about where best to locate their headquarters, executives, employees, and themselves and their families in the current and post-pandemic landscape.
This collaboration between Deep Knowledge Analytics, a subsidiary of Deep Knowledge Group that produces advanced analytics to deliver insightful market intelligence and pragmatic forecasting, and Henley & Partners — the global leader in residence and citizenship planning — draws on multiple datasets, including Deep Knowledge Analytics’ Covid-19 City Safety Ranking and Henley & Partners’ Global Residence Program Index, published in Investment Migration Programs 2021.
A useful, data-driven tool for making strategic relocation decisions
Spanning five regions, the Best Residence-by-Investment Cities for Business Index taps into over 1,000 data points and more than 40 different parameters and sub-parameters to rank the cities according to 10 main categories that represent the most pressing relocation considerations: lifestyle, tax, education, real estate, healthcare, security, infrastructure, and stability, as well as Covid safety and the relevant investment migration program.
Dr. Parag Khanna, FutureMap Founder and author of upcoming book MOVE: The Forces Uprooting Us says that at a time when nations are plagued by great disparities in wealth and culture, the focus on leading cities rather than countries is very welcome. “Technological connectivity is creating new vectors of mobility for millions of people. Though we are evolving towards a world in which ever more work is conducted in the cloud, management and employees still have to be somewhere, and given the diverse risks businesses face, from pandemics to conflict to climate change, they must think very carefully about where to expand or relocate, seeking hubs that offer a high degree of reliability in their capacity for business continuity under diverse scenarios.”
Diversifying your domicile portfolio
CEO of Henley & Partners Dr. Juerg Steffen who has published definitive books on high-net-worth relocation to Austria and Switzerland, says the index is invaluable to those considering investment migration as a means of creating optionality in terms of where they and their families can live, work, study, and invest. “Residence-by-investment programs provide a channel for building a migration portfolio of multiple complementary residence and citizenship options to hedge against volatility and take advantage of new opportunities in the pandemic world order.”
Dmitry Kaminskiy, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Deep Knowledge Group and author of a forthcoming book on longevity politics adds that the ‘health as the new wealth’ paradigm and the realization that healthy longevity is a fundamentally new, precious asset class are prompting investors to rearrange their portfolios. “An increasing number of governments are also planning and executing strategies to develop their longevity industries. Soon, ‘age-friendly’ cities will be superseded by ‘longevity-friendly’ valleys where you can remain professionally, mentally, socially, and economically active for as long as possible.”
London reigns supreme overall
The five cities that take the top spots in the index — London, New York, Sydney, Singapore, and Zurich — indicate the wide geographical range of available residence-by-investment program options. In 1st place with the highest score by an impressive margin is London. Performing well in many parameters, the financial capital’s three highest scores are in education, security, and stability. The UK Investor Immigration Program introduced in 1994 is one of the longest running, most established residence-by-investment options, providing access to a dynamic business environment and world-class education.
New York – Excellent for business and education
Education, security, and stability are New York’s top strengths, galvanizing it into 2nd spot. A global center for finance and commerce, the big apple offers access to no less than 130 higher education institutions and scores highest overall in the index for education. The US EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program was created in 1990 to stimulate the economy by allowing foreign entrepreneurs to reside in the USA permanently after investing in an American business, although its Regional Center Program has lapsed. Alternatively, participants in Grenada, Montenegro, or Turkey’s citizenship-by-investment programs are then eligible to apply for the E-2 Investor Visa that allows applicants to live, work, and study in America.
Sydney, Singapore, Zurich – Secure, stable, sustainable
Sydney, Singapore, and Zurich, in 3rd, 4th, and 5th places, respectively, all score highest in security, infrastructure, and stability, with Sydney taking the number one spot overall for security. Australia has been focusing on attracting the brightest and best to strengthen its economy and grow its future-focused sectors. Successful entrepreneurs can apply for any of Australia’s residence-by-investment options to obtain permanent residence, while the Global Talent visa was specifically designed to attract dynamic, highly skilled tech individuals to relocate to Australia’s safe shores.
Southeast Asia’s powerhouse Singapore scores highest overall in terms of Covid safety, lifestyle, and infrastructure. Renowned for its low crime rates and ease of conducting business, the city-state houses the headquarters of over 35,000 global companies and recorded a USD 24 billion in real estate sales in the first six months of 2021.
Turning to Europe, with its high standard of living and burgeoning healthcare sector, Switzerland’s capital Zurich is the top performing residence-by-investment city in terms of healthcare and stability and is perennially a highly sought-after option for ultra-high-net-worth investors and entrepreneurs.
Vienna and Lisbon – Top residence programs
Joint-1st in terms of Austria’s and Portugal’s residence-by-investment offerings are Vienna and Lisbon, which both also score highly in security and stability — increasingly important drivers for investment migration and business relocation. Both European cities are popular choices for multinational firms to base their headquarters — Vienna’s appeal lies in its highly skilled labor force and excellent productivity levels, while Lisbon has a flourishing tech sector thanks to Portugal’s business-friendly policies and the top talent emerging from its universities. Rome and Zurich are joint-2nd thanks to Italy and Switzerland’s attractive residence programs, while Athens is 3rd, with the Greece Golden Visa Program being a particularly popular option.
Dubai, Riga, Limassol, Athens, Bangkok, and Port Louis – Tax-friendly, affordable, high-standard-of-living options
While just missing out on the Top 10, Dubai in 11th place is not to be overlooked. The Middle Eastern emirate’s pioneering capital scored highest overall in the index in tax, owing to its zero corporate tax, as well as ranking 2nd when it comes to Covid safety.
The relative smallness and historic charm of Latvia’s capital Riga (17th) compared to other important European cities is increasingly appealing to foreign investors and high-net-worth families, with its pro-business environment and attractive tax allowances.
Limassol (19th), Cyprus’s vibrant cosmopolitan port city, has developed into a leading regional financial center, with an attractive tax regime and excellent infrastructure in addition to benefiting from Cyprus’s EU membership. Cyprus has one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the EU and its government is business friendly.
Europe’s oldest capital Athens (20th) offers a more relaxed, less bureaucratic business environment, with numerous tax cuts and other incentives for foreign investors. Safe, affordable, welcoming and exceptionally beautiful, Greece is hard to beat when it comes to lifestyle and is rapidly regaining ground as a desirable investment destination too.
The bustling city of Bangkok (23rd) is a cost-effective gateway to Asia with a stable economy, and Thailand offers numerous government incentives for foreign business owners, including tax exemptions and import duty concessions.
And finally, Port Louis (24th) in Mauritius is an attractive, safe, well-governed, politically stable African hub, perfectly positioned between Asia and Europe, with appealing tax incentives. As a top-level Exclusive Economic Zone, the presence of numerous multinational companies endorses Port Louis as an excellent location for business.
Cities that welcome foreign workers and investors will succeed
The pandemic-era population declines seen in global capitals was less a consequence of residents fleeing than the absence of new migrants to replace them, according to Greg Lindsay, Director of Applied Research at NewCities. “The health and wealth of cities are inextricably bound to the migration and security policies of their federal governments — as New York, London, and Hong Kong have all recently discovered to their lasting regret. In a world gradually pivoting from the pandemic to what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts will be several decades of mounting climate disasters, safe harbors will be at a premium.”
Dominic Volek, Group Head of Private Clients at Henley & Partners, says the key takeout from the Best Residence-by-Investment Cities for Business Index is that there are abundant opportunities for affluent and talented individuals considering relocation. “Along with seeking out new domicile options for their families, more and more investors are considering relocating their businesses. This trend had begun pre-pandemic, but it is accelerating. All 25 cities are proactively welcoming foreign investors, and while some are clearly leading the pack, each has its strengths and particular appeal.”
$144M Airlines’ Fund Trapped In Nigeria, Says IATA
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Thursday lamented over the blocked funds belonging to airlines in several countries.
The association, representing some 290 airlines, urged governments to abide by international agreements and treaty obligations to enable airlines to repatriate nearly $1 billion in blocked funds from the sale of tickets, cargo space, and other activities.
Approximately $963 million in airline funds are being blocked from repatriation in nearly 20 countries.
Four countries: Bangladesh ($146.1 million), Lebanon ($175.5 million), Nigeria ($143.8 million), and Zimbabwe ($142.7 million), account for over 60% of this total, although there has been positive progress in reducing blocked funds in Bangladesh and Zimbabwe of late.
IATA’s Director-General, Willie Walsh, said: “Governments are preventing nearly $1 billion of airline revenues from being repatriated.
“This contravenes international conventions and could slow the recovery of travel and tourism in affected markets as the airline industry struggles to recover from the COVID-19 crisis.
“Airlines will not be able to provide reliable connectivity if they cannot rely on local revenues to support operations.
“That is why it is critical for all governments to prioritize ensuring that funds can be repatriated efficiently. Now is not the time to score an ‘own goal’ by putting vital air connectivity at risk.”
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