Both international and domestic travel demand showed significant momentum in July compared to June, although demand remained far below pre-pandemic levels, according to the latest figures from IATA. Extensive government-imposed travel restrictions continue to delay recovery in international markets.
Total demand for air travel in July down 53.1 per cent compared to July 2019. This is a significant improvement from June, when demand was 60 per cent below June 2019 levels.
International passenger demand in July was 73.6 per cent below July 2019, bettering the 80.9 per cent decline recorded in June 2021 versus two years ago. All regions showed improvement and North American airlines posted the smallest decline in international RPKs (July traffic data from Africa was not available).
Total domestic demand was down 15.6 per cent versus pre-crisis levels, compared to the 22.1 per cent decline recorded in June. Russia posted the best result for another month, with RPKs up 28.9 per cent vs. July 2019.
“July results reflect people’s eagerness to travel during the Northern Hemisphere summer. Domestic traffic was back to 85 per cent of pre-crisis levels, but international demand has only recovered just over a quarter of 2019 volumes”, noted IATA director general Willie Walsh.
“The problem is border control measures. Government decisions are not being driven by data, particularly with respect to the efficacy of vaccines. People travelled where they could, and that was primarily in domestic markets. A recovery of international travel needs governments to restore the freedom to travel. At a minimum, vaccinated travellers should not face restrictions. That would go a long way to reconnecting the world and reviving the travel and tourism sectors.”
International Passenger Markets
- European carriers saw their July international traffic decline 64.2 per cent, significantly bettering the 77 per cent decrease in June. Capacity dropped 53.8 per cent and load factor fell 19.9 percentage points to 69.0 per cent.
- Asia-Pacific airlines’ international traffic fell 94.2 per cent, barely improved over the 94.7 per cent drop registered in June as the region continues to have the strictest border control measures. Capacity dropped 86 per cent and the load factor was down 48.2 percentage points to 34.3 per cent, by far the lowest among regions.
- Middle Eastern airlines posted a 74.5 per cent demand drop in July, surpassing the 79.2 per cent decrease in June, versus the same month in 2019. Capacity declined 59.5 per cent, and load factor deteriorated 30.1 per cent to 51.3 per cent.
- North American carriers’ July demand fell 62.1 per cent, much improved on the 69.4 per cent decline in June. Capacity sank 52 per cent, and load factor dipped 18.6 per cent to 69.3 per cent.
- Latin American airlines saw a 66.3 per cent drop in July traffic, improved over the 69.8 per cent decline in June. July capacity fell 60.5 per cent and load factor dropped 12.6 per cent to 72.9 per cent, which was the highest load factor among the regions for the ninth consecutive month.
In August, IATA commended the European Commission for its leadership and speed in delivering the EU Digital Covid Certificate (DCC) and urged states to make it their global standard for digital vaccine certificates.