How has COVID-19 affected the aviation industry?

I can recall three recent events which could arguably be compared in some ways to how the current pandemic has affected the aviation industry:


Y2K – this was a software issue that was expected at the turn of the millennium, so we were given time to plan for it and, ultimately, it caused little disruption.


9/11 – an unexpected and tragic event which caused immediate mass disruption to the world of aviation, but which did not ground planes for a prolonged period.


The worldwide grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft in March 2019 after two fatal incidents.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 has been economically far worse for the aviation industry. It is an unexpected event that has affected the entire world and which has lasted for a prolonged period.

At least 9,690 planes – around 30% of the world’s commercial aircraft – have been in storage during the pandemic.i

The financial loss to date has been staggering, equating to around $370 billion across the whole industry.ii

iBarker, A. (2020, December 12). When planes return to the skies, some aviation experts fear a spate of incidents. Retrieved April 16, 2021, from

iiAir travel down 60 per cent, as airline industry losses top $370 billion: ICAO | | UN NEWS. (n.d.). Retrieved April 16, 2021, from