The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has recorded a moderate rebound in air travel in September compared to August’s performance.
This was driven by recovery in domestic markets, in particular China, where some travel curbs were lifted following the Covid-19 outbreaks in August.
International demand, meanwhile, slipped slightly compared to the previous month.
Total demand for air travel in September 2021 (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) was down 53 per cent compared to September 2019.
This marked an uptick from August, when demand was 56 per cent below August 2019 levels.
Domestic markets were down 24 per cent compared to September 2019, a significant improvement from August 2021, when traffic was down 33 per cent versus two years ago.
All markets showed improvement with the exception of Japan and Russia, although the latter remained in solid growth territory compared to 2019.
International passenger demand in September was 69 per cent below September 2019, fractionally worse than the 68.7 per cent decline recorded in August.
“September’s performance is a positive development but recovery in international traffic remains stalled amid continuing border closures and quarantine mandates.
“The recent US policy change to reopen travel from 33 markets for fully vaccinated foreigners from November 8th is a welcome, if long overdue, development.
“Along with recent re-openings in other key markets like Australia, Argentina, Thailand, and Singapore this should give a boost to the large-scale restoration of the freedom to travel,” said Willie Walsh, IATA director general.