The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced that the slow recovery in passenger demand came to a halt in November.
A moderate return had been slowing in place since the summer travel season in the northern hemisphere came to an end.
Total demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) was down 70 per cent compared to November 2019, virtually unchanged from the 70 per cent year-to-year decline recorded in October.
November capacity was 58 per cent below previous year levels and load factor fell 23 percentage points to 58 per cent, which was a record low for the month.
International passenger demand in November was 88 per cent below November 2019, slightly worse than the 88 per cent year-to-year decline recorded in October.
Capacity fell 77 per cent below previous year levels, and load factor dropped 39 percentage points to 41 per cent.
Europe was the main driver of the weakness as new lockdowns weighed on travel demand.
Recovery in domestic demand, which had been the relative bright spot, also stalled, with November domestic traffic down 41 per cent compared to the prior year (it stood at 41 per cent below the previous year’s level in October).
Capacity was 27 per cent down on 2019 levels and the load factor dropped 16 percentage points to 67 per cent.
“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 Alexandre de Juniac, IATA chief executive.