Collapse of Italian air travel reflects global trend due to covid-19 pandemic.
Five weeks after almost 460,000 passengers passed through Italian airports on Sunday 23 February, the number dropped to just 6,800 on Sunday 29 March, according to data released by Italy's national statistics authority ISTAT.
Compared to March last year, two out of three flights were cancelled (66.3 per cent) and passengers decreased by 85 per cent (from about 14 million to just over 2 million) in what ISTAT describes as the "sudden and vertical collapse in five weeks" due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A confirmation of an upward trend in air traffic worldwide, including Italy, had been expected in 2020, reports Italian news agency Adnkronos.
In Italy the data recorded in January 2020 bode well: the more than 12.5 million passengers who transited through Italian airports represented an increase of 4.1 per cent compared to the same month the year before.
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In January 2019 Italy recorded a 4.9 per cent increase in air travel compared to the same month in 2018.
The ISTAT air travel report says the covid-19 emergency "brutally interrupted the positive evolution of the sector, precipitating a dramatic global crisis in a very short period of time and with unprecedented proportions."