Asia-Pacific Airlines’ July International Traffic Down 94.2% on July 2019

(01 Sep 2021)
According to IATA’s data for July 2021, both
international and domestic travel demand showed significant
momentum compared to June, but demand remained far below
pre-pandemic levels. Extensive government-imposed travel
restrictions continue to delay recovery in international markets.

Total demand for air travel in July 2021, measured
in revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs), was down 53.1% when compared
to July 2019, a significant improvement on June when
demand was 60% below June 2019 levels.

International passenger demand in July was 73.6%
below July 2019, bettering the 80.9% decline recorded in June 2021
versus two years ago.

All regions showed improvement and North
American airlines posted the smallest decline in international
RPKs, though it must be noted that July traffic data from Africa was not available
at press time.

Total domestic demand was down 15.6% versus
pre-crisis levels (July 2019), compared to the 22.1% decline
recorded in June over June 2019. Russia posted the best result for
another month, with RPKs up 28.9% vs. July 2019.

“July results reflect people’s eagerness to travel
during the Northern Hemisphere summer,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s
Director General. “Domestic traffic was back to 85% of pre-crisis
levels, but international demand has only recovered just over a
quarter of 2019 volumes. The problem is border control measures.
Government decisions are not being driven by data, particularly
with respect to the efficacy of vaccines. People traveled where
they could, and that was primarily in domestic markets. A recovery
of international travel needs governments to restore the freedom
to travel. At a minimum, vaccinated travelers should not face
restrictions. That would go a long way to reconnecting the world
and reviving the travel and tourism sectors.”

Asia-Pacific airlines’ July international traffic
fell 94.2% compared to July 2019, barely improved over the 94.7%
drop registered in June 2021 versus June 2019 as the region
continues to have the strictest border control measures. Capacity
dropped 86.0% and the load factor was down 48.2 percentage points
to 34.3%, by far the lowest among regions.

European carriers saw their July international
traffic decline 64.2% versus July 2019, significantly bettering
the 77.0% decrease in June compared to the same month in 2019.
Capacity dropped 53.8% and load factor fell 19.9 percentage points
to 69.0%.

Middle Eastern airlines posted a 74.5% demand drop
in July compared to July 2019, surpassing the 79.2% decrease in
June, versus the same month in 2019. Capacity declined 59.5%, and
load factor deteriorated 30.1 percentage points to 51.3%.

North American carriers’ July demand fell 62.1%
compared to the 2019 period, much improved on the 69.4% decline in
June versus two years ago. Capacity sank 52.0%, and load factor
dipped 18.6 percentage points to 69.3%.

Latin American airlines saw a 66.3% drop in July
traffic, compared to the same month in 2019, improved over the
69.8% decline in June compared to June 2019. July capacity fell
60.5% and load factor dropped 12.6 percentage points to 72.9%,
which was the highest load factor among the regions for the ninth
consecutive month.

Australia’s domestic traffic sank further from a
51.4% decline in June versus the same month in 2019, to a 75.4%
decline in July versus two years ago, amid stricter domestic
lockdowns in response to a spike in the Delta variant.

US domestic traffic continued to recover in July,
and was down just 7.7% compared to July 2019, improved from a
14.0% decline in June versus June 2019.

“As the Northern Hemisphere summer travel season
draws to a close it is clear that too many governments missed the
opportunity to apply a risk-based approach to managing their
borders,” said Walsh. “The growing number of fully vaccinated
travelers and the prevalence of testing provided the chance to
restore international connectivity and bring much needed relief to
economies that are heavily reliant on travel and tourism. Instead,
governments continued to behave as if it was the summer of 2020.
Economies and the labor force will pay the price for decisions
that were made not based on science, but on political expediency.
Governments have rightly urged their populations to be vaccinated;
now governments need to have confidence in the benefits of
vaccinations—including the freedom to travel.”

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