GENEVA — Covid-19 affected the world in every possible way, from personal to professional, in the last two years.
However, after numerous measures taken by governments (from vaccination to providing face shields), air travel demand has risen.
Both international and domestic air travel demand showed significant momentum in July compared to June, but demand remained far below pre-pandemic levels, as per International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Extensive government-imposed travel restrictions continue to delay recovery in international markets.
Total demand for air travel in July 2021 (measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometers or RPK) was down 53.1 percent compared to July 2019. This was a significant improvement from June when demand was 60 percent below June 2019 levels.
“International passenger demand in July was 73.6 percent below July 2019, bettering the 80.9 percent decline recorded in June 2021 versus two years ago,” read a press release by International Air Transport Association.
“All regions showed improvement, and North American Airlines posted the smallest decline in international revenue passenger kilometers.”
Total domestic demand was down 15.6 percent versus pre-crisis levels (July 2019) compared to the 22.1 percent decline recorded in June over June 2019. Russia posted the best result for another month, with revenue passenger kilometers up 28.9 percent versus July 2019.
International Air Transport Association’s Director General Willie Walsh said July results reflect people’s eagerness to travel during the Northern Hemisphere summer. Domestic traffic was back to 85 percent of pre-crisis levels, but international demand has only recovered just over a quarter of 2019 volumes.
“The problem is border control measures. Government decisions are not being driven by data, particularly with respect to the efficacy of vaccines,” he said.
“People traveled where they could, and that was primarily in domestic markets. A recovery of international travel needs governments to restore the freedom to travel.”
“At a minimum, vaccinated travelers should not face restrictions. That would go a long way to reconnecting the world and reviving the travel and tourism sectors,” said Walsh.
Asia Pacific airlines’ July international traffic fell 94.2 percent compared to July 2019, barely improved over the 94.7 percent drop registered in June 2021 versus June 2019 as the region continues to have the strictest border control measures.
Capacity dropped 86 percent, and the load factor was down 48.2 percentage points to 34.3 percent, by far the lowest among regions.
“Despite the positive RPK developments observed in July, the uncertainty about air travel recovery is rising sharply due to the fast spread of Delta variant around the world,” said an official at International Air Transport Association.
At the global level, the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections per week reached approximately 4.5 million in mid-August — nearly double the amount.
Compared with mid-June, at the regional level, the cases were rising the most in Asia Pacific, Europe, and North America.
(With inputs from ANI)
Edited by Amrita Das and Pallavi Mehra
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