The month of March 2020 has been described as the most disastrous for aviation in recent history as global passenger traffic results for the month show that demand (measured in total revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) dived 52.9% compared to the year-ago period.
Alexandre de Juniac, Director General of International Air Transport Association (IATA),made the statement while reacting to the results on the global passenger traffic published by IATA.
to the result, this was the largest decline in recent history, reflecting the
impact of government actions to slow the spread of COVID-19. In seasonally
adjusted terms, global passenger volumes returned to levels last seen in 2006.
March capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) fell by 36.2% and load
factor plummeted 21.4 percentage points to 60.6%.
“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. 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,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
International Passenger Markets
passenger demand shrank 55.8% compared to March 2019. That is much worse than
the 10.3% year-to-year decline in February. All regions recorded double-digit
percentage traffic declines. Capacity tumbled 42.8%, and load factor plunged
18.4 percentage points to 62.5%.
- Asia-Pacific airlines led the decliners, as March traffic dropped 65.5%
compared to the year-ago period, which was more than double the 30.7%
decline in February. Capacity fell 51.4% and load factor collapsed 23.4
percentage points to 57.1%.
- European carriers saw March demand fall 54.3% year-to-year. In
February, traffic was virtually flat compared to February the prior year.
Capacity dropped 42.9%, and load factor sank 16.8 percentage points to
67.6%, which was the highest among regions.
- Middle Eastern airlines posted a 45.9% traffic decrease in
March, reversing a 1.6% increase in February. Capacity slid 33.5%, and
load factor dropped 13.7 percentage points to 59.9%.
- North American carriers’ traffic dived 53.7% compared to March a year ago,
dramatically worsened from a 2.9% drop in February compared to February
2019. Capacity fell 38.1%, and load factor sank by 21.1 percentage points
- Latin American airlines experienced a 45.9% demand drop in March, compared to the same month last year; in February traffic declined 0.2% year-to-year. Capacity fell 33.5% and load factor sagged 15.3 percentage points to 66.5%.
- African airlines’ traffic fell 42.8% in March, which was a huge deterioration from a 1.1% decline in February. Capacity dropped 32.9%, and load factor contracted 10.5 percentage points to 60.8%.
Domestic Passenger Markets
Demand for domestic travel shrank 47.8% in March compared to March 2019 with double-digit percentage declines in all markets. This compared to a 21.3% year-to-year decline in February. Capacity fell 24.5% and load factor plunged 26.0 percentage points to 58.1%.