The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said that African airlines’ traffic fell by 42.8 per cent in March, which was a huge decline from 1.1 per cent recorded in February.
IATA said capacity dropped 32.9 per cent, and load factor contracted 10.5 percentage points to 60.8 per cent.
IATA announced global passenger traffic results of March 2020, showing that demand (measured in total revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) dived 52.9 per cent compared to the year-ago period. IATA said this was the largest decline in recent history, reflecting the impact of government actions to slow the spread of COVID-19.
In seasonally adjusted terms, global passenger volumes returned to levels last seen in 2006. March capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) fell by 36.2 per cent and load factor plummeted 21.4 percentage points to 60.6 per cent.
“March was a disastrous month for aviation. Airlines progressively felt the growing impact of the COVID-19 related border closings and restrictions on mobility, including in domestic markets.
“Demand was at the same level it was in 2006 but we have the fleets and employees for double that. Worse, we know that the situation deteriorated even more in April and most signs point to a slow recovery,” said IATA’s Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac.
March international passenger demand shrank 55.8 per cent compared to March 2019. That is much worse than the10.3 per cent year-to-year decline in February. All regions recorded double-digit percentage traffic declines. Capacity tumbled 42.8 per cent, and load factor plunged 18.4 percentage points to 62.5 per cent.