2020 was a year like no other for the aviation industry.
The fact that at the beginning of 2021 most airlines are still in business is testament to the strength and importance of the industry but mainly due to the substantial levels of support the industry has received from governments, their banking relationships, the deep and robust capital markets, and importantly from their leasing companies, which have become an even-greater source of support. Heading toward the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, although the vaccination programmes around the world have given hope that an end is in sight, there is still much pain to be borne. Many countries have travel restrictions in place, via testing and quarantine requirements, which is keeping international travel depressed for the short-term. The next two quarters will be pivotal for the survival of many airlines, and with more failures, the pressure increases on their partners - leasing companies, banks, suppliers and manufacturers. The recovery once it comes will be difficult for all of us, which is why so many airlines and companies have sought to raise such eye-watering amounts of capital while the markets were so robust in 2020 to build those fortress balance sheets to help them survive the recovery period. Given the challenges the industry faces, the many experts that contributed to this report remain optimistic for the return in demand, with complete faith that the fundamentals of the air travel market that has shown such rapid growth over the past decade – a growing middle class, focus on experience, that desire to travel – remain once the externally imposed barriers to travel are lifted.