Global Air Passenger Traffic Continues to Decline Amid Tightened Travel Restrictions

The demand for air travel continues to plunge even further despite being a year into the pandemic, as numerous countries tighten Covid-19 restrictions amid surging infections.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), international air passenger demand fell by 88.7% in February compared to pre-pandemic levels recorded a year earlier. This marks a further decline from the 85.7% year-over-year drop noted in January. In the meantime, the total demand for air travel (which is measured in revenue passenger kilometers) declined by 74.7% compared to February 2019, following a year-over-year decrease of 72.2% in the month prior.

The latest figures suggest that demand for travel continues to worsen, despite ongoing vaccine efforts. As the IATA notes, it is the “worst growth outcome” since July of last year, as performance in all major regions slumped even further since January 2021. “February showed no indication of a recovery in demand for international air travel. In fact, most indicators went in the wrong direction as travel restrictions tightened in the face of continuing concerns over new coronavirus variants,” explained IATA Director General Willie Walsh.

The data showed that February passenger traffic for North American carriers fell by 83.1% compared to the same period a year ago; a further deterioration from the 79.2% decline recorded in January. Capacity levels remained subdued by 63.9%, while load factor fell by 41.9 percentage points to 36.7%. In the meantime, European air carriers’ traffic slumped by 89% versus February 2019, considerably worse compared to the 83.4% decrease in the previous month.

Information for this briefing was found via the IATA. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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