IATA reports significant recovery in air traffic in America
According to the report published today by the International Air Transport Association, in August both North America and Latin America improved their fall levels compared to the same month of 2019
Total demand for air travel in August 2021 (measured in passengers per revenue kilometer or RPK) decreased by 56.0% compared to August 2019. This marked a slowdown from July, when demand was 53.0% by below July 2019 levels.
This was driven entirely by domestic markets, which fell 32.2% compared to August 2019, a significant deterioration since July 2021, when traffic decreased by 16.1 % compared to two years ago. The worst impact was in China, while India and Russia were the only major markets to show month-over-month improvement compared to July 2021.
International passenger demand in August was 68.8% lower than August 2019, which was an improvement compared to the 73.1% drop recorded in July. All regions showed an improvement, which was attributed to increased vaccination rates and less stringent international travel restrictions in some regions.
“The August results reflect the impact of Delta variant concerns on domestic travel, even as international travel continued at a snail's pace toward a full recovery that cannot happen until governments restore freedom to travel. In that sense, the recent announcement by the United States to lift travel restrictions from the beginning of November to fully vaccinated travelers is very good news and will bring certainty to a key market. But challenges persist, September reserves indicate a deterioration in the international recovery. That's bad news heading into the traditionally slower fourth quarter, ”said Willie Walsh, IATA Director General.
The international traffic of European operators in August decreased by 55.9% compared to August 2019, significantly improving the decrease of 63.2% in July compared to the same month of 2019. Capacity fell by 45.0% and the load factor fell 17.7 percentage points to 71.5%.
Asia-Pacific airlines saw their international traffic drop in August by 93.4% compared to August 2019, barely better than the 94.5% drop recorded in July 2021 compared to July 2019, already that the region continues to have the strictest border control measures. Capacity fell 85.7% and load factor fell 44.9 percentage points to 37.9%, by far the lowest among regions.
Middle East airlines had a 69.3% drop in demand in August compared to August 2019, improving on the 73.6% decrease in July, compared to the same month in 2019. Capacity decreased 55.0 % and the load factor deteriorated 26.2 percentage points to 56.2%.
North American operators experienced a 59.0% drop in traffic in August compared to the 2019 period, much better than the 61.7% decline in July compared to July 2019. Capacity sank by a 48.5% and the load factor fell 18.0 percentage points to 70.3%.
Latin American airlines saw a 63.1% drop in August traffic, compared to the same month in 2019, improved from the 68.3% drop in July compared to July 2019. August capacity fell 57.3% and load factor fell 11.4 percentage points to 72.6%, making it the highest load factor among the regions for the eleventh consecutive month.
African airline traffic fell 58.5% in August from two years ago, somewhat improved from the 60.4% decline in July compared to July 2019. August capacity was reduced by 50, 1% and the load factor decreased from 12.7% to 63.0%.