The recovery in global air passenger demand during last year came to a halt in November, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) reported on Thursday. The recovery had already been slowing since the end of the northern hemisphere summer travel period. Total passenger demand in November 2020 was 70.3% down on that in November 2019. This was almost exactly the same year-on-year decline recorded in October, which came to 70.6%.
In terms of international passenger demand, the year-on-year fall in November was a little worse than the equivalent figure for October. November 2020 international demand was 88.3% below that in November 2019, while the year-on-year fall in October had been 87.6%.
Domestic air passenger demand, which had been seeing relatively better recovery than international demand, also saw its improvement coming to a halt in November. Domestic traffic in November was, in year-on-year terms, down 41%. The year-on-year fall for October had been 41.1%.
International capacity in November fell 77.4%, year-on-year, and the equivalent drop in domestic capacity was 27.1%. International load factors declined by 38.7 percentage points (to 41.5%) while domestic load factors went down by 15.7 percentage points to 66.6%.
The African region saw a year-on-year fall in international air passenger traffic of 76.7% in November. Yet Africa was Iata’s best performing region! Second best was Latin America, whose carriers experienced a drop of 78.6% in international passenger demand. For North America, the collapse was 83%, for Europe 87% and for the Asia-Pacific, it was 95%.
“The already tepid recovery in air travel demand came to a full stop in November,” stated Iata director-general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac. “That’s because governments responded to new outbreaks with even more severe travel restrictions and quarantine measures. This is clearly inefficient. Such measures increase hardship for millions. Vaccines offer the long-term solution. In the meantime, testing is the best way that we see to stop the spread of the virus and start the economic recovery. How much more anguish do people need to go through – job losses, mental stress – before governments will understand that?”