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A plane takes off from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas on Feb. 23, 2021.John Locher/The Associated Press

Global airline body IATA said that the crisis deepened for airlines in January, as international traffic plunged 86 per cent in the month compared to pre-crisis levels, and domestic air traffic was down 47 per cent.

New variants of the coronavirus forced governments to tighten travel restrictions across the world, hurting the outlook for airlines, the group warned.

“That is what drove the weakness and the low points in January,” said IATA chief economist Brian Pearce. “Airlines are facing a really tough start to the year.”

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