Revenues in the passenger air market are 56% below the pandemic

Global industry passenger-kilometer (RPK) air market revenue was 56% below pre-crisis levels of 2019 in August 2021, IATA reported.

This is a deterioration compared to the 53% drop in July.

This was also reflected in seasonally adjusted RPKs, which fell 7.1% month-on-month in August, the first drop since January 2021.

Seasonally adjusted RPKs remain around 60% below pre-crisis levels, underscoring that the recovery has a long way to go.

The air market travel, and in particular in China, was affected by the Delta variant in August.

The industry-wide RPK decline was entirely due to domestic markets, as international air travel performed well in August.

While China was the main culprit, accounting for 19.9% ​​of total global RPKs in 2020, traffic in several other large domestic markets also worsened. Overall, national RPKs fell 32.2% in August 2021 compared to the same month in 2019, after a 16.1% decrease in July.

Air market

The Covid-19 outbreaks meant that domestic travel restrictions were significantly strengthened in China in August.

National RPKs fell 57.0% compared to August 2019, a significant deterioration from the 2.5% drop in July. That said, cases were overall low and the outbreaks were mostly under control at the end of August, suggesting that the numbers will improve in September. That said, the speed at which traffic slowed in China highlights just how vulnerable to the pandemic.

In fact, the increase in Covid-19 cases was also the cause of the deteriorations in some other key national markets.

In Japan and Australia, travel restrictions were tightened, causing seasonally adjusted RPKs to drop 15.3% and 8.9% month-over-month, respectively.

Likewise, in the United States, seasonally adjusted RPKs fell only 1.9%, but given that it is a large market, 16.6% of total global RPKs in 2020, this contributed to the deterioration of the entire industry.

The contraction compared to 2019 accelerated a bit in Brazil (a 20.7% drop in August compared to a 19.6 drop in July), but RPKs increased 2.2% month-over-month, new cases of Covid-19 showed a downward trend and vaccination rates picked up strongly.


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