Muscat: Passenger demand in May (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs), dropped 91.3 per cent compared to May 2019, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced on Wednesday.
This was a mild uptick from the 94 per cent annual decline recorded in April 2020 an the improvement was driven by recovery in some domestic markets, most notably China, IATA said in a press release.
“May was not quite as terrible as April. That’s about the best thing that can be said. As predicted, the first improvements in passenger demand are occurring in domestic markets. International traffic remained virtually stopped in May," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
"We are only at the very beginning of a long and difficult recovery. And there is tremendous uncertainty about what impact a resurgence of new COVID-19 cases in key markets could have,” he added.
International passenger markets
May international passenger demand fell 98.3 per cent compared to May 2019, which was virtually unchanged from the 98.4 per cent decline recorded in April. Capacity plummeted 95.3 per cent, and load factor sank 51.9 percentage points to 28.6 per cent meaning a bit more than a quarter of seats were filled, on average.
European carriers’ May demand contracted 98.7 per cent compared to last year, virtually unchanged from a 98.9 per cent drop in April, year-over-year, and the worst decline among regions. Capacity dropped 97.5 per cent and load factor fell by 41.7 percentage points to 42.4 per cent.
Asia-Pacific airlines’ May traffic plunged 98.0 per cent compared to the year-ago period, also in line with a 98.2 per cent recorded in April. Capacity fell 95.1 per cent and load factor shrank 46.6 percentage points to 32.1 per cent.
Middle Eastern airlines posted a 98.0 per cent traffic contraction for May, compared with a 97.3 per cent demand drop in April. Capacity tumbled 93.9 per cent, and load factor sagged to 23.9 per cent, down 49.1 percentage points compared to the year ago period.
North American carriers had a 98.2 per cent traffic decline in May, little changed from a 98.4 per cent decline in April. Capacity fell 94.5 per cent, and load factor dropped 56.7 percentage points to 27.2 per cent, IATA report said.
Latin American airlines experienced a 98.1 per cent demand drop in May compared to the same month last year, versus a 98.2 per cent drop in April. Capacity fell 96.6 per cent and load factor fell 38.1 percentage points to 45.9 per cent, best among the regions.
African airlines’ traffic sank 98.2 per cent in May, fractionally improved from a 98.7 per cent decline in April. Capacity contracted 77.8 per cent, which was the smallest supply reduction among the regions, and load factor dived 61.8 percentage points to just 5.3 per cent of seats filled, which was the lowest among regions.