Geneva: Domestic air travel demand improved globally in April compared to the prior month although it remained well below pre-pandemic levels, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said.
But recovery in international passenger travel continued to be stalled in the face of government-imposed travel restrictions. Total demand for air travel in April measured in revenue passenger kilometres was down 65.4 per cent compared to April 2019. That was an improvement over the 66.9 per cent decline recorded in March 2021 versus March 2019.
The better performance was driven by gains in most domestic markets, said IATA.
International passenger demand in April was 87.3 per cent below April 2019, little changed from the 87.8 per cent decline recorded in March 2021 versus two years ago.
Total domestic demand was down 25.7 per cent versus pre-crisis levels (April 2019), much improved over March 2021, when domestic traffic was down 31.6 per cent versus the 2019 period.
As with March, all markets except Brazil and India showed improvement compared to March 2021 with both China and Russia reporting traffic growth compared to pre-Covid-19 levels.
"The continuing strong recovery in domestic markets tells us that when people are given the freedom to fly, they take advantage of it. Unfortunately, that freedom still does not exist in most international markets. When it does, I am confident we will see a similar resurgence in demand," said Willie Walsh, IATA's Director General.
Asia Pacific airlines' April international traffic was down 94.4 per cent compared to April 2019, incrementally improved compared to the 94.9 per cent decline registered in March 2021 versus March 2019.
The region experienced the steepest traffic declines for a ninth consecutive month. Capacity was down 86.3 per cent and the load factor sank 47.7 percentage points to 33.5 per cent, the lowest among regions.