IATA downgrades traffic forecast even further to reflect poor August demand

©IATA

The International Air Transport Association has downgraded its 2020 traffic forecast from down 63% to down 66% when compared to 2019 traffic volume on the back of poor August figures that have reflected a weaker-than expected recovery from the effects of the global pandemic.

August revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) were down 75.3% when compared to August 2019, only a marginal improvement for the July figure of a 79.5% contraction. While domestic markets are outperforming international ones in terms of recovery, August capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) was still down 63.8% compared to a year ago, and load factor plunged 27.2 points to an all-time low for August of 58.5%.

IATA identified the key negative turning point in what appeared to be a growing recovery in passenger numbers in August as the period when a number of governments in key areas re-introduced restrictions based on the apparent resurgence of the COVID-19 virus.  Whereas the decline in year-on-year growth of global RPKs was expected to have moderated to -55% by December, a much slower improvement is now expected with the month of December forecast to be down 68% on a year ago.

“August’s disastrous traffic performance puts a cap on the industry’s worst-ever summer season. International demand recovery is virtually non-existent and domestic markets in Australia and Japan actually regressed in the face of new outbreaks and travel restrictions. A few months ago, we thought that a full-year fall in demand of -63% compared to 2019 was as bad as it could get. With the dismal peak summer travel period behind us, we have revised our expectations downward to -66%,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

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