The travel demand of the world’s airlines maintained a moderate recovery in May, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Indeed, seasonally adjusted passenger-kilometer revenue (SA RPK) in May increased for the fourth consecutive month, 2.4% month-on-month.
Overall, industry-wide RPKs were 62.7% lower compared to the pre-crisis period (May 2019), as international traffic is limited.
This was a breakthrough compared to the previous month, as the same metric was 65.2% lower in April 2021 compared to April 2019.
Second, domestic airline travel continued to strengthen in May.
But national RPKs declined 23.9% in May compared to the pre-crisis period (May 2019), after registering a 25.5% decline in April.
Among key domestic markets, China and Russia were the two large domestic markets that exceeded pre-crisis levels.
According to IATA, there has been a shift from international to domestic destinations in both markets as international travel restrictions remain strict.
While Russia’s domestic traffic recovered 22% above pre-crisis levels in May, China remained 6.3% above pre-crisis levels.
Also domestic tours in Russia benefit from government subsidies that support domestic tourism.
Domestic travel in the United States strengthened further in May (26.2% less than in May 2019) and the pace of recovery is expected to increase in the summer months.
Additionally, the IATS expects the US domestic market to achieve a full recovery by the end of this year or early 2022.
At the same time, domestic traffic in Australia increased with the support of leisure travel, as international travel restrictions remained in place.
However, domestic traffic would be reversed as authorities implemented new restrictions with new outbreaks.
Brazil‘s domestic travel recovered with the relaxation of some of the internal restrictions.
But recoveries in domestic travel depend on the control of new waves.
In India, internal trafficking deteriorated further as the country struggles with new variant cases.
Similarly, domestic traffic in Japan fell with the expansion of restrictions amid the resurgence of Covid-19 cases.
International restrictions remain strict even in regions where vaccine launch is progressing, such as North America and Europe.
While restrictions continue to decline in Latin America, travel measures became stricter for countries facing new variants of Covid-19 and the new variants would delay the easing of strict travel measures before the Christmas season.