The pandemic led to a brutal upheaval of the aviation industry. With global travel bans, millions of stakeholders were impacted as the skies emptied. The tourism industry suffered its worst year on record in 2020, with international arrivals dropping 74% annually. Whilst the aviation industry is used to periodic, uncontrollable shocks and, to some extent, their business models provide for them, the viciousness of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on this industry was and continues to be unprecedented.

There was some respite for the industry due to increased demand for cargo, including the movements of personal protective equipment and vaccines and, in some of the larger countries such as the USA and China, the resurgence of domestic air travel once restrictions were eased. However, the acute operational and financial pressures on the aviation industry continue.

We are at last seeing signs of economic recovery and consumer confidence, buoyed by people around the world, including the UAE, becoming vaccinated against Covid-19. Whilst the emergence out of the pandemic and people’s propensity to travel will be tempered by a number of factors, including the nascence of virus variants, we believe now is an ideal time to take the pulse of the aviation sector.

Our first UAE aviation report delves into the impact of Covid-19 on passengers’ sentiment. We also examine which factors are influencing their motivation to undertake air travel in the next six months.

Over the years, air travel has made the world a smaller place. The sector now serves a multitude of travelers with different motivations. In this report, we focus on the principal categories: visiting friends and relatives (VFR), leisure, business and medical tourism. This report focuses solely on consumer travel habits.

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