The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has revealed that passenger traffic has continued to fall in January 2021. Official figures show that that traffic is down both compared to pre-Covid levels, January 2019, and compared to the month prior, December 2020.
RPKs down by 72 percent compared to January 2019
In January 2021, the total demand which is measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs was down by 72 per cent compared to January 2019. Further, these figures were much worse that the 70 per cent year-over-year decline recorded in December 2020. In terms of domestic demand, numbers were down by 47 per cent versus pre-crisis, January 2019, levels. In December 2021, it was down by 43 per cent on the previous year.
A major reason for the declining passenger traffic is due to stricter domestic travel controls in China over the Lunar New Year holiday period. International passenger demand in January was 86 per cent below January 2019. Alexandre de Juniac, IATA chief executive said: This year is starting off worse than 2020 ended and that is saying a lot. Even as vaccination programs gather pace, new Covid-19 variants are leading governments to increase travel restrictions. The uncertainty around how long these restrictions will last also has an impact on future travel.
Forward bookings in February this year for the northern Hemisphere summer travel season were 78 per cent below levels in February 2019.”