IATA sees moderate rebound in passenger demand in September

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Photo source: European Union / Yorgos Karahalis

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently reported a moderate rebound in air travel in September 2021 from performance in August.

“This was motivated by recovery of domestic markets, especially in China, where some travel restrictions were lifted following the Covid-19 outbreaks in August, ”IATA said. International demand, for its part, fell slightly compared to the previous month.

According to data (with comparisons to September 2019) published by the association, total air travel demand in September 2021 (measured in revenue passenger-kilometers or RPK) was declining 53.4% from September 2019. This is a slight increase from August, when demand was 56.0% lower than August 2019 levels.

IATA has found that international passenger demand in september was 69.2 percent less than September 2019, slightly worse than the 68.7 percent drop recorded in August.

As it concerns European carriers Specifically, in September, international traffic fell 56.9% compared to September 2019, down 1 percentage point from the 55.9% drop in August compared to the same month in 2019. La capacity fell 46.3% and load factor fell 17.2 percentage points to 69.6%.

Domestic markets were down 24.3 percent compared to September 2019, a significant improvement from August 2021, when traffic was down 32.6% from two years ago. All markets showed improvement except Japan and Russia, although the latter remained in solid growth territory compared to 2019.

Walsh: reopens come with different rules

“September’s performance is a positive development, but the recovery in international traffic remains at a standstill amid border closures and continued quarantine warrants,” said the IATA chief executive. Willie walsh, adding that the change in US policy to reopen travel from 33 markets for fully vaccinated foreigners and with reopenings in other key markets (Australia, Argentina, Thailand and Singapore) should give a boost to large-scale restoration of the freedom to travel.

Source: IATA Economics from DDS ticketing data

Source: IATA Economics from DDS ticketing data

He noted, however, that each reopening announcement appears to come with similar but different rules.

“We cannot let the recovery get bogged down in complication,” Walsh said, recalling that the ICAO High Level Conference on COVID-19 agreed that harmonization must be a priority and the G20 in October pledged to take action to supporting a recovery with seamless travel, sustainability and digitization.

“Now governments must put action behind these words to achieve simple and effective measures. People, jobs, businesses and economies count on real progress, ”he said.

IATA’s vision for the safe restoration of global connectivity is based on five key principles:

– Vaccines must be available to everyone as quickly as possible,
– vaccinated travelers must not encounter any obstacle to travel,
– the tests must allow those who do not have access to vaccines to travel without quarantine,
– antigen testing is the key to cost-effective and convenient testing regimes, and
– governments should pay for the tests, so that it does not become an economic barrier to travel.


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