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Airlines

Worldwide Air Travel Demand Dropped 91 Percent in May

Worldwide Air Travel Demand Dropped 91 Percent in May
Joe Cortez

With commercial a0ircraft loads plummeting, the IATA suggests the airline industry will experience a “long and difficult recovery.” Compared year-over-year, May 2020 experienced a 91 percent drop in revenue passenger kilometers – but it is better than April.

The International Air Transport Association is warning that airline recovery and could be a very long process based on current consumer data. Sharing global passenger numbers, the trade group representing 290 airlines around the world notes figures for May 2020 were an improvement from April, but down over 90 percent compared to the same time last year.

Revenue Passenger Kilometers Take Major Hit

Data released by IATA shows one telling statistic that the industry is still depressed: worldwide revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) were down over 91 percent compared to May 2019. The hardest hit markets based on year-over-year comparison were Africa with a 97.9 percent drop, Europe with a 97.7 percent decrease, and North America with a 92.5 percent decline.

“May was not quite as terrible as April. That’s about the best thing that can be said,” IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said in a press release. “As predicted, the first improvements in passenger demand are occurring in domestic markets.”

Capacity is also suffering, as airlines drop flights due to a lack of demand. With only one-fourth of available seats were filled on aircraft, carriers cut out over 95 percent of their capacity worldwide.

IATA Calls on Governments for Support and Reduced Blockages

Noting the dismal numbers, de Juniac called on worldwide governments to continue their support for airlines, and stop entry quarantines. Their call comes as the European Council recommended an entry ban of citizens from the United States for the next two weeks.

“Governments also need to avoid adding blockers to the recovery, such as implementing entry quarantines,” de Juniac said in the release. “They have the same impact as outright travel bans and will keep economies closed down to the benefits of aviation connectivity.”

Instead of banning passengers, de Juniac instead suggested governments impose additional fees to raise money towards fighting the spread of COVID-19. Similar to the September 11 Security Fee, a potential COVID-19 fee could cover passenger testing, contact tracing, and additional health measures to open destinations without exposing them to a new novel Coronavirus outbreak.

“Travel and tourism accounts for 10.3% of global GDP and 300 million jobs,” says de Juniac. “It is in everybody’s interest, including governments, to remove barriers to travel as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Today’s data is released as airlines start flying aircraft to capacity once more for the summer months. Four North American carriers, including American Airlines and United Airlines, will start filling aircraft to capacity starting July 1, 2020.

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1 Comment

  1. Sandybestdog

    July 2, 2020 at 5:15 am

    This government bureaucrat has already put millions out of work. He needs to go away. We all know the risks. People don’t have to fly if they don’t want to.

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