ICAO: International passenger traffic down 60% in 2020, domestic markets more resilient

    ICAO confirmed (15-Jan-2021) international passenger traffic decreased by 60% year-on-year to 1.8 billion in 2020, a volume of traffic last recorded in 2003. Seat capacity decreased 50% in 2020. Details include:

    • The drop in air travel demand commenced in Jan-2020 but was limited to only a few countries. As the global spread of the pandemic continued, air transport activities “came to a virtual standstill” by the end of Mar-2020;
    • Widespread lockdown measures, border closures and other travel restrictions resulted in a 92% drop in passenger numbers by Apr-2020, with an average 98% drop in international traffic and 87% decline in domestic travel;
    • Following the low point in Apr-2020, passenger traffic recorded a short lived “moderate rebound” in the northern summer travel period. Travel stalled and declined again in Sep-2020 when second waves of infection in many regions prompted the reintroduction of restrictive measures;
    • Recovery was “vulnerable and volatile” in the last four months of 2020;
    • There was a “persistent disparity” between domestic and international air travel impacts in 2020. Domestic travel demonstrated stronger resilience and dominated traffic recovery scenarios, particularly in China and Russia;
    • As of late May-2020, the Asia Pacific and North America regions were leading the global recovery in passenger totals, largely due to their significant domestic markets. Europe recorded a temporary rebound but trended downward “dramatically” from Sep-2020. Latin America and the Caribbean recorded traffic improvements in 4Q2020. Recovery in Africa and the Middle East “proceeded less robustly”. [more – original PR]
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