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How Covid-19 changed the skies: Charting the pandemic’s effect on travel one year after the UAE first paused flights

By the end of 2019, aviation had entered what some have dubbed a second golden age. Airlines were making a profit, pilots were in strong demand and flying was faster, cheaper and more comfortable than ever before, leading to a record high in passenger numbers.

A total of 4.5 billion people flew on an aircraft in 2019 – equivalent to almost 60 per cent of the world’s population. In the same period, an average of 12.5 million people boarded one of the 128,000 flights operated every day, according to data from the International Air Transport Association (Iata).

In the UAE, the trend was magnified. In November 2019, the 16th iteration of…

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