African Air Traffic Dipped 66.1% – IATA
Posted: 04/Mar/2021

The International Air Transport Association has reported a drop in passenger demand in the new year.

In a report titled ‘From bad to worse: January passenger demand falls further’, IATA said African airlines’ traffic dropped 66.1 per cent in January.

It added that January capacity contracted 54.2 per cent when compared to January 2019 while the load factor fell 18.4 percentage points to 52.3 per cent.

Similarly, total demand in January 2021 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was down 72 per cent compared to January 2019. That was worse than the 69.7 per cent year-over-year decline recorded in December 2020.

IATA’s Director-General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, who commented on the development said, “Year 2021 is starting off worse than 2020 ended and that is saying a lot. Even as vaccination programmes gather pace, new COVID-19 variants are leading governments to increase travel restrictions.

“The uncertainty around how long these restrictions will last also has an impact on future travel. Forward bookings in February this year for the Northern Hemisphere summer travel season were 78 per cent below levels in February 2019.”

However, the global body for airlines in another report recorded a positive growth in air cargo for the first time since January 2019.

Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres, was up 1.1 per cent compared to January 2019 and +3 per cent compared to December 2020.

All regions saw month-on-month improvement in air cargo demand, and North America and Africa were the strongest performers, the report titled ‘January air cargo demand recovers to pre-COVID levels’, said.

African airlines’ cargo demand soared 22.4 per cent compared to the same month in 2019, eclipsing the 6.3 per cent year-over-year increase for December 2020.
 
The report said that the robust expansion on the Asia-Africa trade lanes contributed to the strong growth.