Recovery in passenger demand came to a halt in November, largely driven by governments responding to new COVID-19 outbreaks with even more severe travel restrictions and quarantine measures, according to Alexandre de Juniac, Iata Director General and CEO.
“This is clearly inefficient. Such measures increase hardship for millions. Vaccines offer the long-term solution. In the meantime, testing is the best way that we see to stop the spread of the virus and start the economic recovery. How much more anguish do people need to go through – job losses, mental stress – before governments will understand that?”
Iata’s latest statistics show that total demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) was down 70.3% compared with November 2019, virtually unchanged from the 70.6% year-to-year decline recorded in October. November capacity was 58.6% below previous year levels and load factors fell 23.0 percentage points to 58.0%, a record low for the month.
International passenger demand in November was 88.3% below November 2019, slightly worse than the 87.6% year-to-year decline recorded in October. Capacity fell 77.4% below the previous year’s levels, and load factors dropped 38.7 percentage points to 41.5%. Europe was the main driver of the weakness as new lockdowns weighed on travel demand.
Recovery in domestic demand, which had been the relative bright spot, also stalled, with November domestic traffic down 41% compared with the prior year (it stood at 41.1% below the previous year’s level in October).
African airlines’ traffic sank 76.7% in November, little changed from a 77.2% drop in October, but the best performance among the regions. Capacity contracted 63.7%, and load factors fell 25.2 percentage points to 45.2%.