KUALA LUMPUR, May 11 — Moody’s Investors Service has changed the global airline industry outlook to positive from negative, reflecting its expectations of widespread increases in air travel starting in the second half of 2021 and accelerating through 2022.
In a statement today, the ratings agency said it expects this positive demand trend to run for many quarters into 2023.
“Increasing coronavirus vaccinations around the globe will allow governments to lower barriers to entry for visitors and re-entry for residents returning home.
“Leisure traffic will lead the charge to the boarding gates, while corporate trips and international long-haul will follow, initially at slower paces,” it said.
Moody’s said the restoration of the ability to travel will relieve the tremendous pent-up demand to fly to visit friends and relatives and for vacations.
“Hence, we expect offices in many countries will begin reopening in large numbers by the fall of 2021 (Sept 22-Dec 21), which will facilitate the beginning of the recovery of corporate travel.
“We also expect long-haul international demand to pick up by the end of 2021, driven by the same factors that will spur leisure and corporate travel,” it added.
The industry outlook had been negative since March 6, 2020.
The ratings agency said it would consider changing the outlook to stable if the expectation of the annual growth rate of air travel demand across major markets, measured by the percentage change in revenue passenger kilometres, to slow below 15 per cent.
“We would change the outlook to negative if we were to expect travel demand to decline.
“A lack of efficacy of vaccines against potential future variants of the coronavirus would be the likely driver of falling demand,” it said.