BA suffered 80% drop in passengers during pandemic

Thursday 08th September 2022 02:48 EDT

The number of passengers flying with British Airways suffered 80 per cent drop during the pandemic and the airline was still struggling to recover after restrictions lifted last year, new figures show. A ranking of 600 operators tracked in the Cirium airline database shows, global air traffic was down 57 per cent on pre-pandemic levels at the end of 2021, with British Airways (BA) and Virgin Atlantic taking two of the largest falls.

BA’s drop in passengers took it from the 12th largest airline in the world to the 30th, according to Cirium’s rankings of global airline size. Virgin Atlantic saw an even larger drop, falling 83 per cent between 2019 and 2021, with long-haul and luxury travel struggling to recover from the pandemic. As a result, it dropped more than 50 places. Jeremy Bowen, the chief executive of Cirium, said, “pre-pandemic, Asia Pacific airlines held the single largest share of global passenger traffic, with over a third of the world total. As a result, it climbed from eighth position to fifth in the rankings, only European airline to make the top ten. Wizz Air, its close competitor, saw a 33 per cent drop in traffic and climbed from 31st to 19th place. In terms of passenger numbers, the total stood at 2.3 billion for the year, representing about half of the volumes from the peak in 2019. This summer was supposed to mark a major return to international travel, but strikes, staff shortages and delays at the UK’s largest airports have grounded planes.

However, airports and airlines which let staff go during the pandemic are struggling to keep flights running and on time. Flight cancellations increased in June and July, and BA also cancelled more than 10,000 planned flights between August and October.

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