COVID-19 Impact: Negative passenger demand trend continues in March, says IATA

According to figures released by the International Air Transport Association, capacity fell 67.2 percent, and load factor declined 32.3 percentage points to 41.3 percent

  
Emirates airline. Image courtesy Dubai Media Office Twitter handle.

Emirates airline. Image courtesy Dubai Media Office Twitter handle.

Middle Eastern airlines’ demand fell 81.6 per cent in March compared to March 2019, an improvement over an 83.1 per cent demand drop in February, versus the same month in 2019.

According to figures released by the International Air Transport Association (Iata), capacity fell 67.2 per cent, and load factor declined 32.3 percentage points to 41.3 per cent.

IATA announced that passenger traffic fell in March 2021 compared to pre-Covid levels (March 2019) but rose compared to the immediate month prior (February 2021).

Because comparisons between 2021 and 2020 monthly results are distorted by the extraordinary impact of Covid-19, unless otherwise noted all comparisons are to March 2019, which followed a normal demand pattern.

• International passenger demand in March was 87.8 per cent below March 2019, a very small improvement from the 89 per cent decline recorded in February 2021 versus two years ago.

• Total domestic demand was down 32.3 per cent versus pre-crisis levels (March 2019), greatly improved over February 2021, when domestic traffic was down 51.2 per cent versus the 2019 period. All markets except Brazil and India showed improvement compared to February 2021, with China being the key contributor, as already noted.

• Total demand for air travel in March 2021 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was down 67.2 per cent compared to March 2019. That was an improvement over the 74.9 per cent decline recorded in February 2021 versus February 2019. The better performance was driven by gains in domestic markets, particularly China. International traffic remained largely restricted.

“The positive momentum we saw in some key domestic markets in March is an indication of the strong recovery we are anticipating in international markets as travel restrictions are lifted. People want and need to fly. And we can be optimistic that they will do so when restrictions are removed,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General. - TradeArabia News Service

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