Passenger demand recovery comes to stop in November amid surge in Covid 19 cases

International passenger demand in November plunged 88.3% compared to the same month last year, Iata says

International passenger demand continued to be affected by the pandemic-related travel restrictions with demand plunging 88.3 per cent in November compared to the same month last year, according to the International Air Transport Association (Iata).

Domestic demand which had seen some recovery in the last few months also stalled with November traffic falling 41 per cent.

“The already tepid recovery in air travel demand came to a full stop in November. That’s because governments responded to new outbreaks with even more severe travel restrictions and quarantine measures,” Alexandre de Juniac, Iata’s director general and chief executive, said. “This is clearly inefficient. Such measures increase hardship for millions.”

Coronavirus infections continued to climb across the globe with countries announcing new lockdown measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic. As of Friday, the pandemic has infected about 89 million people globally and claimed more than 1.9 million lives, according to Worldometer, which tracks the outbreak. More than 63.6 million people have recovered from the infection.

Asia-Pacific airlines’ November traffic plunged 95 per cent compared to the year-ago period, while European carriers saw an 87 per cent decline in traffic, worsened from an 83 per cent decline in October as countries intensify travel restrictions in the wake of new coronavirus cases.

Middle Eastern airlines’ demand fell 86 per cent in November year-on-year, a slight improvement from an 86.9 per cent demand drop during the previous month, according to Iata.

North American carriers posted an 83 per cent traffic drop and Latin American airlines saw a 78.6 per cent drop in November, compared to the same month last year.

African airlines’ traffic sank 76.7 per cent in November, little changed from a 77.2 per cent drop in October, but “the best performance among the regions.”

“Vaccines offer the long-term solution. In the meantime, testing is the best way that we see to stop the spread of the virus and start the economic recovery. How much more anguish do people need to go through—job losses, mental stress—before governments will understand that?” Mr de Juniac, added.

Global air cargo demand improved in November but remained below the 2019 levels due to capacity constraints as passenger aircraft continue to remain grounded due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Air freight demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres, fell 6.6 per cent in November compared to the same month a year ago, Iata said in a separate statement.

Global capacity plunged 20 per cent in November from a year ago.