NOT April Fool's: passenger air traffic down by over 93%!

We all wish the COVID-19 pandemic were an April Fool's joke, but unfortunately that is not the case as we continue to shelter in place for potentially many more months to come.  The month of March 2020 might have well been the longest month in history for most of us as we went from attending sporting events and museums and commuting to work and dropping off our kids at school, to literally hunkering in at home with no sports or social gatherings whatsover with our kids now at home.  We also witnessed the Dow Jones Industrial Average post its worst quarterly loss in well over 32 years, falling 23.2% for the quarter.  But what we have never witnessed in history is the epic collapse of air travel, which has fallen by an astounding 93% over the course of one month!!

According to the TSA, on March 1 before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic and while we were still living business as usual, total daily traveler throughput came in at 2,280,522, which is the norm for this time of the year.  By the end of the month on March 31, that figure had dropped to an astonishing 146,348, which marks over a 93% drop!  The past 2 weeks have seem the most remarkable drops as countries closed their borders and the airline carriers have cut the majority of their existing routes.  Such a decrease has been absolutely unheard of in the history of aviation, though it unfortunately comes as no surprise as the world attempts to control this outbreak that has claimed the lives of 47,000 individuals at the timing of this post.

The scores of jets grounded in Victorville, CA due to the collapse in air demand caused by COVID-19

Quick thoughts

It's no doubt that the travel industry has suffered tremendously with the COVID-19 pandemic.  Even with government bail outs, it will likely take years for the industry as a whole to recover, while some travel companies unfortunately won't be able to make it out at all.  Our thoughts and prayers should continue to go out to those affected by COVID-19, whether it be directly or for those with family members and friends who contracted the deadly virus.  We are definitely in unchartered waters for both this pandemic and its toll on the travel industry, and I suspect that the number of air travelers will continue to fall in the coming weeks.


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