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Global air passenger traffic dives 72.8%: Iata

November 5, 2020
aviation

Industry's recovery has 'hit a wall'

Global air passenger traffic fell 72.8 per cent in September, reflecting a slight improvement from 75.2 per cent in August as the pandemic impact continued to weigh on the aviation industry, latest data shows.

The International Air Transport Association (Iata) on Wednesday announced that demand remained highly depressed. Capacity was down 63 per cent compared to a year ago and load factor fell 21.8 percentage points to 60.1.

International passenger demand 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, according to the global aviation body.

“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,” Iata director-general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said.

“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,” he added.

Middle Eastern airlines posted a 90.2 per cent traffic decline for September, improved from a 92.3 per cent demand drop in August. Capacity tumbled 78.5 per cent, and load factor sank 40.9 percentage points to 34.4 per cent.

African airlines’ traffic sank 88.5 per cent in September, barely budged from an 88.7 per cent drop in August. Capacity contracted 74.7 per cent, and load factor fell 39.4 percentage points to 32.6 per cent, which was the second lowest among regions.

European carriers’ September demand collapsed 82.5 per cent versus a year ago, which was a setback compared to an 80.5 per cent decline in August.

“Europe was the only region to see a deterioration in traffic compared to August, owing to renewed infections that led to a wave of border closings. Capacity contracted 70.7 per cent and load factor fell by 35.1 percentage points to 51.8 per cent,” Iata said.

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