Passenger Demand Low in September

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has revealed that passenger demand in September remained highly depressed.

Total demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was 72.8 per cent below September 2019 levels (only slightly improved over the 75.2% year-to-year decline recorded in August). Capacity was also down 63 per cent compared to a year ago and load factor fell 21.8 percentage points to 60.1 per cent.

International passenger demand in September plunged 88.8 per cent compared to September 2019, basically unchanged from the 88.5 per cent decline recorded in August. Capacity plummeted 78.9 per cent and load factor withered 38.2 percentage points to 43.5 per cent. Domestic demand in September was down 43.3 per cent compared to the previous year, improved from a 50.7 per cent decline in August. Compared to 2019, capacity fell 33.3 per cent and the load factor dropped 12.4 percentage points to 69.9 per cent.

“We have hit a wall in the industry’s recovery. A resurgence in COVID-19 outbreaks–particularly in Europe and the US–combined with governments’ reliance on the blunt instrument of quarantine in the absence of globally aligned testing regimes, has halted momentum toward re-opening borders to travel.

“Although domestic markets are doing better, this is primarily owing to improvements in China and Russia. And domestic traffic represents just a bit more than a third of total traffic, so it is not enough to sustain a general recovery,” said IATA’s Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac.