Home- Stories -Omicron’s Impact Continues, But Passenger Demand Recovery Continued in 2021: IATA

Omicron’s Impact Continues, But Passenger Demand Recovery Continued in 2021: IATA

Our Bureau - : Jan 26, 2022 - : 10:42 am

Global passenger traffic demand (revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) fell by 58.4% in 2021 compared to the full year of 2019, an improvement compared to 2020, when full year RPKs were down 65.8% versus 2019.

International passenger demand in 2021 was 75.5% below 2019 levels, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced on Tuesfday. Capacity, (measured in available seat kilometers or ASKs) declined 65.3% and load factor fell 24.0 percentage points to 58.0%. Domestic demand in 2021 was down 28.2% compared to 2019. Capacity contracted by 19.2% and load factor dropped 9.3 percentage points to 74.3%.

Total traffic in December last year was 45.1% below the same month in 2019, up from the 47.0% contraction in November, as monthly demand continued to recover despite concerns over Omicron. Capacity was down 37.6% and load factor fell 9.8 percentage points to 72.3%.

Ticket sales for future domestic and international travel deteriorated since November. Tickets sold for travel at any point in the future were at 45% of 2019 levels in the first half of January – a deterioration compared with 50% in December and 56% in November.

Impact of Omicron Measures: Omicron travel restrictions slowed the recovery in international demand by about two weeks in December. International demand has been recovering at a pace of about four percentage points/month compared to 2019.

“Overall travel demand strengthened in 2021,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General. “That trend continued into December despite travel restrictions in the face of Omicron. That says a lot about the strength of passenger confidence and the desire to travel. The challenge for 2022 is to reinforce that confidence by normalizing travel. While international travel remains far from normal in many parts of the world, there is momentum in the right direction.”

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