No relief to passenger downturn in September, says IATA

TD Editor

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that passenger demand in September remained highly depressed. Total demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was 72.8% below September 2019 levels (only slightly improved over the 75.2% year-to-year decline recorded in August).

Capacity was down 63% compared to a year ago and load factor fell 21.8 percentage points to 60.1%. International passenger demand in September plunged 88.8% compared to September 2019, basically unchanged from the 88.5% decline recorded in August. Capacity plummeted 78.9%, and load factor withered 38.2 percentage points to 43.5%.

Domestic demand in September was down 43.3% compared to the previous year, improved from a 50.7% decline in August. Compared to 2019, capacity fell 33.3% and the load factor dropped 12.4 percentage points to 69.9%.

“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 Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.

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