30% Rise In Global Air Traffic In May

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that demand for air services is beginning to recover after hitting the bottom in April.

Global passenger traffic rose by 30 percent in May from a very low level in April.

Passenger demand in April had plunged 94.3 percent compared to the same month in 2019, as the COVID-19-related travel restrictions virtually shut down domestic and international air travel. This is a rate of decline never seen in the history of IATA’s traffic series, which dates back to 1990.

Many airlines were forced to lay off staff as commercial traffic plummeted. Airlines have cut their domestic fares to attract passengers to board their planes.

Figures show that daily flight totals rose 30 percent between the low point on 21 April and 27 May. This is primarily in domestic operations. While this uptick is not significant to the global dimension of the air transport industry, it is the first signal of aviation beginning the likely long process of re-establishing connectivity.

“Flight numbers are increasing. Countries are beginning to lift mobility restrictions. And business confidence is showing improvement in key markets such as China, Germany, and the US. These are positive signs as we start to rebuild the industry from a stand-still. The initial green shoots will take time—possibly years—to mature,” Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO said.

IATA calculated that by the first week of April, governments in 75 percent of the markets banned entry, while an additional 19 percent had limited travel restrictions or compulsory quarantine requirements for international arrivals.

Data from late May show that flight levels in South Korea, China and Vietnam have risen to a point now, just 22-28 percent lower than a year earlier . Searches for air travel on Google also went up 25 percent by the end of May compared to April.

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