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IATA: February Global Air Travel Demand Falls Further

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Global air demand in February 2021 fell 74.7 percent compared to its pre-pandemic level in February 2019, according to the International Air Transport Association, a deeper decline than the 72.2 percent drop in January 2021. Compared to February 2019, global capacity in February 2021 it fell 74.7 percent while the global load factor fell 25.3 percentage points to 55.4 percent.

The decline was due to still small demand for international air travel, according to IATA. Compared to February 2019, international demand for air in February fell by 88.7 percent, the worst growth result since July 2020, according to IATA. International capacity fell 77.9 percent compared to February 2019 and the load factor fell 38.8 percentage points to 40.8 percent. Performance in all regions deteriorated compared to January 2021.

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2021-02 IATA

“February showed no indication of a recovery in demand for international air travel,” said IATA Director-General Willie Walsh. “In fact, most indicators went in the wrong direction as travel restrictions were tightened in the face of ongoing concerns over new variants of the coronavirus.”

February domestic demand was down 51 percent compared to February 2019 and had a larger decline than January, when it fell 47.8 percent. IATA attributed the February decline to China’s weak domestic demand for travel, which was influenced by the Chinese government’s demands that citizens stay home during the Lunar New Year travel period. February’s internal capacity was down 37.1 percent and the load factor fell 18.3 percentage points to 64.3 percent.

A significant bright spot in domestic demand was in Australia, which saw its demand decline against 2019 ease from 81.6 percent in January to 60.5 percent in February. “An important exception was the Australian domestic market,” Walsh said. “A relaxation of restrictions on domestic flights resulted in more travel. This shows us that people have not lost their desire to travel. They will fly, provided they do so without facing quarantine measures.”

The US also saw an improvement in its domestic demand. In February, demand was down 56.1 percent compared to February 2019, less than the 60.3 percent decline in January.

CONNECTED:January 2021 Demand and capacity of air passengers

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