By Babajide Okeowo
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has disclosed that the overall picture for international travel still remains grim.
To this effect, IATA disclosed that African airlines’ traffic declined by 78.6 per cent in October, which was an improvement from an 84.9 per cent drop in September and the best performance among the regions. Capacity contracted 67.5 per cent and load factor fell 23.8 percentage points to 45.5 per cent.
IATA’s Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac announced that the recovery of passenger demand continued to be disappointingly slow in October.
“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.
Also, 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.
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 43.0 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.
Recall that the aviation sector has been one of the sector badly hit by the COVID 19 pandemic with total revenue loss in 2020 standing at $510b.