Iata statistics show Covid-19 affected its six regions differently

4th August 2021 By: Rebecca Campbell - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

In percentage terms, Africa suffered the third worst fall in air passenger numbers last year, the Iata World Air Transport Statistics document, published on Tuesday, has shown. Iata is the International Air Transport Association, the representative body of the global airline industry.

African air passenger traffic was down 65.7% last year, compared with 2019. The only regions with higher percentage falls were the Middle East, at 67.6%, and Europe, with 67.4%. North America saw a drop of 60.8% and Latin America one of 60.6%, while the decline in the Asia-Pacific was 53.4%.

In terms of numbers, African airlines flew 34.3-million passengers last year. This was the lowest number of people carried by airlines of any region. Asia-Pacific carriers flew the greatest number of passengers – 780.7-million. Next came North America, where the airlines flew 401.7-million people, then Europe (389.9-million), Latin America (123.6-million) and the Middle East (76.8-million).

“China became the largest domestic market in 2020 for the first time on record, as air travel rebounded faster in their domestic market following their efforts to control Covid-19,” reported Iata. Three of the five top domestic passenger airport pairs last year were in China. These were Shanghai (Hongqiao Airport)­-Shenzhen (in third place), Beijing (Capital Airport)-Shanghai (Hongqiao), which was fourth, and Guangzhou-Shanghai (Hongqiao), in fifth place. The top two pairs were Jeju-Seoul (Gimpo Airport) in South Korea (first) and Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam (second).

In terms of international air passenger travel, the top route area last year was ‘Within Europe’. The Europe-North America route was in second place, with ‘Within Far East’ third. Fourth place was held by Europe-Far East and fifth by Middle East-Far East.

The top five nations in terms of air passengers travelling during 2020 were, from first to fifth, the Americans, British, Germans, French and Indians. In numerical terms, 45.7-million Americans were airline passengers in 2020, amounting to 9.7% of all passengers flown, with 40.8-million Britons (8.6% of the total), 30.8-million Germans (6.5%), 23.3-million French (4.9%) and 17.4-million Indians (3.7%). Combined, these five countries accounted for 33.4% of total global air passengers last year.