IATA observed modest Air Traveller growth in May

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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According to its latest report, the global trade association for airlines, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) recorded a small rise in passenger demand during the month of May. While April witnessed a 94% fall compared to the same month last year, in May the fall had come down to 91%.

The slight improvement has been powered by a modest recovery in some domestic markets, as countries continue to ease restrictions.

“May was not quite as terrible as April. That’s about the best thing that can be said,” Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’’s director general and chief executive, said. “As predicted, the first improvements in passenger demand are occurring in domestic markets. International traffic remained virtually stopped in May.”

But amidst border closure and government-enforced restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, global passenger demand for air travel continues to decline, said IATA.

According to the report, the international passenger demand fell 98.3% year-on-year and was essentially unchanged from the 98.4% decline reported in April. All regions have suffered a double-digit percentage decline in traffic, with capacity dropping 95.3% and the average load factor, which is used to measure how efficiently a travel provider fills the seats to generate revenue, fell 51.9% points to 28.6%.

Airlines in the Middle East have recorded a contraction of 98% in May post a 97.3% shrink in the previous month. Capacity dropped by 93.9% and the load factor dropped to 23.9%.

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

According to the International Monetary Fund, the coronavirus pandemic has brought the global travel and tourism industry to a grinding halt and plunged the global economy into a recession which is predicted to be the worst since the Great Depression.

This year the global economy is expected to contract 4.9 percent, the fund said. According to the United Nations, the tourism industry stands to lose up to $3.3 trillion globally as the Covid-19 pandemic is crippling foreign travel, with developing countries experiencing the biggest effects.