Air travel demand declines a step back as coronavirus restrictions tighten

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Air travel
Air travel demand suffered another decline in February as travel restrictions tightened in response to novel coronavirus variants. Photo Credit: Agency

Dubai: Demand for air travel suffered another drop in February as travel restrictions tightened in response to novel coronavirus variants.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), passenger traffic – measured in revenue from kilometers – decreased by 74.7%, compared to February 2019. This was worse than the 72.2% decline recorded in January 2021.

International passenger demand in February was 88.7 percent lower than February 2019, a further drop from the year-on-year drop of 85.7 percent in January.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said performance in all regions worsened compared to January 2021.

Willie Walsh, Director-General of the International Air Transport Association, said: “February showed no sign of a recovery in demand for international air travel – in fact, most indicators went in the wrong direction as travel restrictions tightened in the face of lingering concerns about new coronavirus variants “.

Australia is doing well

Domestic markets saw another drop in traffic in February, with Australia being the only bright spot.

“An important exception was the Australian domestic market – relaxing restrictions on domestic flight has significantly increased travel,” said Walsh.

Shipping return to growth

Meanwhile, the air cargo business has started to experience exponential growth for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

Global demand, measured in tonnes of cargo per kilometer, increased 9% compared to February 2019 and 1.5% compared to January 2021.

“Demand for air freight is not only recovering from the COVID-19 crisis, it is increasing – one of the main challenges for air freight is finding adequate capacity,” Walsh said.

More to track …
Bulletin Observer Business News

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