A Summary of 2020 in Aviation

by Radhakrishnan Pattabiraman

I believe everyone heaved a sigh of relief bidding Adieu to 2020.  After-all, it was perhaps the worst year for any industry, but for Aviation this is surely a disastrous year.  Let us take a review of the extended COVID-19 year while looking at a take-off in this year.

2019 – A Bumper Harvest for Manufactures, Lessors & Airlines.  Airports were Near Full in Their Capacities.

First, let us look back at 2019 performance by manufacturers, which will give an insight to the 2020 status in comparison.

When 2019 came to close the aviation industry saw its peak with 863 deliveries to 99 customers, missing the magic 3-digits narrowly.  In the process Airbus created history for having the best output.  Boeing saw recouping from its 737-Max fiasco.  2019 saw delayed deliveries from Airbus especially with A320 Neo.  Boeing 737-Max was grounded.  Revenue Per Passenger Kilometer (RPK) was growing but airlines were rapidly growing by purchasing and leasing aircrafts.  The year wound-up with hugely successful note and with great expectations.

2020 – A Year of Near Total Turbulence But Closing on an Imperative Take-Off.

But come March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a near-total halt for the airlines for several months.  Even in 2021, there are many nations still reeling under the pandemic and aviation still facing a near total halt.

The year 2020 saw fewer deliveries:

Manufacturer Deliveries Share
Airbus 550 66.9%
Boeing 152 18.5%
Embraer 44 5.4%
COMAC 20 2.4%
Bombardier 17 2.1%
Sukhoi 16 1.9%
ATR 15 1.8%
De Havilland Canada 8 1%
Total 822
There are 8 key aircraft manufacturers world-wide.  Airbus & Boeing always takes the lion’s share of commercial aircraft deliveries of 85% or more Year-on-year. There will be minuscule difference in terms of No. of deliveries between the giants every year.  However, in 2020, Airbus came out successfully by delivering 550 aircrafts out of the 822 deliveries made.

On the positive side, Boeing is expected to bounce back in 2021 with their 737-Max taking to the skies once again.

For New Airlines,  2020 has Never Been a Dull Moment.

When it comes to airlines,  9 new airlines have come into existence:
  • Animawings – Romania
  • EGO Airways.- Italy
  • Fly Armenia Airways – Armenia
  • GullivAir – Bulgaria
  • HiSky – Maldova
  • Lift – South Africa
  • Lubeck Air – Germany
  • OWG – Canada
  • Pivot Airlines – Canada,

Alongside this, the foundations for new airlines were laid, including FlyLanka  (a brand-new private Low-Cost-Carrier from SriLanka), Breeze and LitorAli. All are expected to be flying in 2021.

Fleet Retirements Also Very Active in 2020

As with any world-impacting situation, negative results came flooding in too. This included two widebody jumbo-sized aircraft: The most suffered one being Airbus’ A380.  Airbus’s competitor Boeing also suffered with their 747 fleet ,which now has only 49 examples serving the world with just 13 operators still utilising them. This is expected to further dwindle in 2021.

One hopes 2021 will be a long-road of recovery.  Do you think 2021 will see a rebound of Aviation?  Let us know your comments below.

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