IATA estimates the demand in the Middle East to pick up by 43% in 2021. However, airlines from the region are still likely to suffer billions-reaching losses.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects deep industry losses to continue into 2021, especially during the first half of the year, according to a revised outlook for airline industry performance in 2020 and 2021.

Following 73% fall of passenger demand and 64.5% crunch of capacity versus the previous year, IATA estimates that Middle East airlines would finish the year 2020 with a 7.1 billion loss.

Looking into 2021, IATA expects a “significant turn for the better” across the industry. Despite it, airlines’ finances are likely to remain in the red, according to the report.

In 2021, the demand in the Middle East could recover by 43% (to -61% of 2019 levels) while capacity could grow by 23.6% (-56% of 2019 levels). In total, the association expects Middle East air carriers’ profits to stand around -$3.3 billion.

“Middle East airlines have been challenged by the importance of connecting traffic over Gulf hubs and elsewhere, since long-haul air travel markets have been slowest to reopen,” IATA’s statement reads. “However, airlines in this region have grown their cargo business and this has been some offset.”

Globally, IATA expects the industry to register a $38.7 billion loss in 2021. The outlook indicates faster recovery of domestic services than international markets. However, passenger volumes are expected to return to 2019 levels only in 2024.