The recovery of passenger demand continued to be disappointingly slow in October with Middle Eastern airlines recording an 86.7 per cent traffic drop for the month, improved from an 89.3 per cent demand drop in September.
According to figures released by the International Air Transport Association (Iata), capacity dived 73.6 per cent, and load factor declined 36.6 percentage points to 37.0 per cent.
International passenger demand in October was down 87.8 per cent compared to October 2019, virtually unchanged from the 88 per cent year-to-year decline recorded in September. Capacity was 76.9 per cent below previous year levels, and load factor shrank 38.3 percentage points to 42.9 per cent.
Domestic demand drove what little recovery there was, with October domestic traffic down 40.8 per cent compared to the prior year. This was improved from a 43 per cent year-to-year decline in September. Capacity was 29.7 per cent below 2019 levels and the load factor dropped 13.2 percentage points to 70.4 per cent.
Total demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was down 70.6 per cent compared to October 2019. This was just a modest improvement from the 72.2 per cent year-to-year decline recorded in September. Capacity was down 59.9 per cent compared to a year ago and load factor fell 21.8 percentage points to 60.2 per cent.
“Fresh outbreaks of Covid-19 and governments’ continued reliance on heavy-handed quarantines resulted in another catastrophic month for air travel demand. While the pace of recovery is faster in some regions than others, the overall picture for international travel is grim. This uneven recovery is more pronounced in domestic markets, with China’s domestic market having nearly recovered, while most others remain deeply depressed,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
“This crisis is unrelenting. Our latest economic outlook is for airlines to lose $118.5 billion this year, or $66 for every passenger carried. Assuming borders re-open by mid-2021, the industry will ‘only’ lose $38.7 billion in 2021. Now is the time for governments to step up. The $173 billion of support provided to date has enabled the industry to survive, but more is required to carry the industry through to next summer. IATA has identified a range of market stimulation options that will support the viability of air routes while encouraging people to travel. Without aviation’s $3.5 trillion contribution to global GDP, there can be no broader economic recovery,” said de Juniac.
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