U.S. passenger airline traffic fell 60.1% in 2020 to the lowest number since 1984 as the COVID-19 pandemic devastated demand for air travel, the U.S. Transportation Department.
Total passenger traffic reached 368 million in 2020, down from 922.6 million in 2019. The previous yearly low was 351.6 million in 1984, according to the DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).
U.S. domestic air travel fell by 58.7%, while international travel fell 70.4% as many countries imposed significant travel restrictions.
U.S. airlines say air travel demand remains down more than 60% through early February, reports Reuters.
Industry trade group Airlines for America said the nine largest U.S. airlines lost $46 billion before taxes in 2020. Aa4A also estimates that passenger volumes are unlikely to return to pre-COVID-19 levels before 2023 or 2024.