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“We have hit a wall”: IATA’s September numbers are in

“We have hit a wall”: IATA’s September numbers are in

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

GENEVA — Passenger demand in September remained highly depressed, says IATA, with international demand plunging 88.8% compared to the same month in 2019.

Total demand was 72.8% below September 2019 levels, representing a slight improvement over the 75.2% year-to-year decline recorded in August. Capacity was down 63% compared to a year ago while load factor fell 21.8 percentage points to 60.1%.

Domestic demand saw a slight improvement in September; demand was down 43.3% compared to the previous year, an improvement from the 50.% decline in August. Compared to 2019, capacity fell 33.3% and the load factor dropped 12.4 percentage points to 69.9%.

“We have hit a wall in the industry’s recovery,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “A resurgence in COVID-19 outbreaks – particularly in Europe and the U.S. – combined with governments’ reliance on the blunt instrument of quarantine in the absence of globally aligned testing regimes, has halted momentum toward reopening borders to travel.

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“Although domestic markets are doing better, this is primarily owing to improvements in China and Russia. And domestic traffic represents just a bit more than a third of total traffic so it is not enough to sustain a general recovery.”

North American carriers saw a 91.3% traffic decline in September, a slight improvement from a 92.0% decline in August. Capacity toppled 78.3%, and load factor dropped 49.8 percentage points to 33.4%.

“Last week we provided analysis showing that the airline industry cannot slash costs fast enough to compensate for the collapse in passenger demand brought about by COVID-19 and government border closures and quarantines,” added de Juniac. “Some 4.8 million aviation-sector jobs are imperiled, as are a total of 46 million people in the broader economy whose jobs are supported by aviation. To avoid this economic catastrophe, governments need to align on testing as a way to open borders and enable travel without quarantine, and provide further relief measures to sustain the industry through the dark winter ahead.”

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