The International Air Transport Association (IATA) today announced that the recovery in passenger demand which had been slowing since the Northern hemisphere’s summer travel season came to a halt in November last year.
It stated that overall demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was down 70.3% in November last year compared to 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 factor fell 23.0 percentage points to 58.0%, which was a record low for the month.
Meanwhile, 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 previous year levels, and load factor dropped 38.7 percentage points to 41.5%.
Europe was the main driver of the weakness as new lockdowns weighed on travel demand.
For Asia-Pacific airlines, November traffic plunged 95.0% compared to the year-ago period, which was barely changed from the 95.3% decline in October.
The region continued to suffer from the steepest traffic declines for a fifth consecutive month. Capacity dropped 87.4% and load factor sank 48.4 percentage points to 31.6%, the lowest among regions.
“The already tepid recovery in air travel demand came to a full stop in November. That’s because governments responded to new outbreaks with even more severe travel restrictions and quarantine measures. 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?” said IATA’s Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac.