The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released its passenger demand performance figures for June 2021, which show a very slight improvement in both international and domestic air travel markets. However, demand remains significantly below pre-pandemic levels owing to continuing international travel restrictions.
IATA notes that as comparisons between 2021 and 2020 monthly results are distorted by the impact of Covid-19, unless otherwise noted, all comparisons are to June 2019, which followed a normal demand pattern. The summary of figures is as follows:
- Total demand for air travel in June 2021 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers, or RPKs) was down 60.1% compared to June 2019. That was a small improvement over the 62.9% decline recorded in May 2021 versus May 2019.
- International passenger demand in June was 80.9% below June 2019, an improvement from the 85.4% decline recorded in May 2021 versus two years ago. All regions with the exception of Asia-Pacific contributed to the slightly higher demand.
- Total domestic demand was down 22.4% versus pre-crisis levels (June 2019), a slight gain over the 23.7% decline recorded in May 2021 versus the 2019 period. The performance across key domestic markets was mixed, with Russia reporting robust expansion while China returned to negative territory.
Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general, remarked. “We are seeing movement in the right direction, particularly in some key domestic markets. But the situation for international travel is nowhere near where we need to be. June should be the start of peak season, but airlines were carrying just 20% of 2019 levels. That’s not a recovery, it’s a continuing crisis caused by government inaction.”