KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 1): The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that both international and domestic travel demand showed significant momentum in July 2021 compared to June, but demand remained far below pre-pandemic levels.
Extensive government-imposed travel restrictions continue to delay recovery in international markets.
Total demand for air travel in July 2021 (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) was down 53.1% compared to July 2019. This is a significant improvement from June when demand was 60% below June 2019 levels, said IATA today.
It said international passenger demand in July was 73.6% below July 2019, “bettering the 80.9% decline recorded in June 2021 versus two years ago.”
All regions showed improvement and North American airlines posted the smallest decline in international RPKs (July traffic data from Africa was not available), said IATA, which represents some 290 airlines comprising 82% of global air traffic.
It said total domestic demand was down 15.6% versus pre-crisis levels (July 2019), compared to the 22.1% decline recorded in June over June 2019. Russia posted the best result for another month, with RPKs up 28.9% versus July 2019.
“People travelled 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 travellers should not face restrictions. That would go a long way to reconnecting the world and reviving the travel and tourism sectors,” said Willie Walsh, IATA director-general.