The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on April 29 announced that the global passenger traffic results for March show that the demand dived 52.9 per cent compared to the year-ago period. According to the IATA, this was the largest decline in history. The recent decline was the outcome of the actions taken by the government to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
As per IATA’s official site, Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO said, “March was a disastrous month for aviation. Airlines progressively felt the growing impact of the COVID-19 related border closings and restrictions on mobility, including in domestic markets”.
He added, “Demand was at the same level it was in 2006 but we have the fleets and employees for double that. Worse, we know that the situation deteriorated even more in April and most signs point to a slow recovery”.
According to the official data, March international passenger demand shrank 55.8 per cent compared to March 2019. The recent decline is believed to be much worse than the 10.3 per cent year-to-year decline in February. IATA informed that all regions recorded double-digit percentage traffic declines.
While speaking about the domestic passenger markets, the association informed that the demand for domestic travel, on the other hand, shrank to 47.8 per cent in March compared to March 2019 with double-digit percentage declines in all markets. Furthermore, IATA said that the domestic passenger data is also worse than previous data which saw a 21.3 per cent year-to-year decline. The capacity fell 24. Per cent and load factor plunged 26.0 percentage points to 58.1 per cent, the association informed.
According to Juniac, the industry is in ‘free fall’, however, it still hasn’t hit the bottom. He hopes that the authorities soon ease the restrictions on mobility and opening borders as the industry is being deeply affected by it. Juniac said that it is imperative that governments work with the industry now to prepare to ease the restrictions.
Juniac added, “It is the only way to ensure that we have measures in place to keep passengers safe during travel and reassure governments that aviation will not be a vector in the spread of the disease. Global standards that are mutually accepted and operationally practicable will be mission-critical to achieving this. The only way to get there is by working together”.