Russia, China Lead Passenger Demand Recovery Amid Sharp Decline In Global Traffic Volumes: IATA

Governments were urged to reopen borders and implement relief measures amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as passenger demand remained at “critically low levels”, the world’s largest organisation representing the aviation industry said this week.

Passenger revenues in the global aviation industry were boosted by domestic markets, namely in Russia and China, along with market restarts in the European Union Schengen Area, the the International Air Transport Association said on Tuesday.

Revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) stood at 79.8 percent compared to 2019, despite a slight improvement from the 86.6 percent year-on-year decline last month, the Montreal-based association said.

But other international markets showed little change, with passenger capacity and load factor in July sinking 70.1 and 57.9 percent, respectively, below levels recorded the previous year.

Global passenger demand also collapsed 91.9 percent compared to July last year, just 4.9 percentage points lower than in June at 96.8, figures revealed.

Relaxed travel restrictions in the European Schengen Area saw demand in July reach 87.1 percent lower than in 2019, up 9.6 points from June.

The announcement comes as the aviation and travel industries voiced frustrations over government travel restrictions and quarantine measures, which continued to “annihilate travel demand”, according to the IATA.

Such frustrations were found in a “disappointing” peak summer travel season in the Northern hemisphere, leading to “minimal” improvements in air traffic compared to May and June.

But Chinese carrier traffic had decreased 28.4 percent compared to the previous year over fresh outbreaks of COVID-19, resuming normal volumes in mid-July.

Domestic airline traffic in Russia only fell 17.7 percent in July, a massive improvement compared to 58 percent in June, and was boosted by low domestic fares and skyrocketing demand in national tourism.

The news comes after an IATA survey in July found that 58 percent of passengers would avoid travelling amid the pandemic, with 33 percent responding they would avoid travelling in the future.

The association representing 82 percent of the aviation industry unveiled its “Take Off” criteria in June, published jointly with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), which urged industry leaders and governments to reopen business via measures such as temperature screenings, compulsory face coverings and aircraft sanitation, among others.


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