IATA: Air Passenger Demand Finally Rising
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced that demand for air services is beginning to recover after hitting bottom in April 2020 after the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Passenger demand in April (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs), plunged 94.3% compared to April 2019, as the COVID-19-related travel restrictions virtually shut down domestic and international air travel.
This is a rate of decline never seen in the history of IATA’s traffic series, which dates back to 1990.
More recently, figures show that daily flight totals rose 30% between the low point on 21 April and 27 May.
This is primarily in domestic operations and off of a very low base (5.7% of 2019 demand).
While this uptick is not significant to the global dimension of the air transport industry, it does suggest that the industry has seen the bottom of the crisis, provided there is no recurrence.
In addition, it is the very first signal of aviation beginning the likely long process of re-establishing connectivity.
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, said: “April was a disaster for aviation as air travel almost entirely stopped. But April may also represent the nadir of the crisis.
"Flight numbers are increasing. Countries are beginning to lift mobility restrictions and business confidence is showing improvement in key markets such as China, Germany, and the US.
"These are positive signs as we start to rebuild the industry from a stand-still. The initial green shoots will take time—possibly years—to mature.”
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