(29 July 2021)
IATA’s data for June 2021 shows a very slight
improvement in both international and domestic passenger demand
performance, though demand remains significantly below pre-COVID19
levels owing to international travel restrictions and related

Total demand for air travel in June 2021, measured
in revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs), was down 60.1% when compared
to June 2019, a small improvement over the 62.9% decline
recorded in May 2021 versus May 2019.

International passenger demand in June was 80.9%
below June 2019, an improvement from the 85.4% decline recorded in
May 2021 versus two years ago. All regions, with the exception
once again of
Asia-Pacific, contributed to the slightly higher demand.

Total domestic demand was down 22.4% versus
pre-crisis levels (June 2019), a slight gain over the 23.7%
decline recorded in May 2021 versus the 2019 period. The
performance across key domestic markets was mixed, with Russia
reporting robust expansion and China returning to negative

Thai Lion Air Boeing 737 reg: HS-LUH after taking off from Don Mueang Airport (DMK) in Bangkok in July 2021. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.

“We are seeing movement in the right direction,
particularly in some key domestic markets,” said Willie Walsh,
IATA’s Director General. “But the situation for international
travel is nowhere near where we need to be. June should be the
start of peak season, but airlines were carrying just 20% of 2019
levels. That’s not a recovery, it’s a continuing crisis caused by
government inaction.”

Asia-Pacific airlines’ June international traffic
fell 94.6% compared to June 2019, unchanged from the 94.5% decline
in May 2021 versus May 2019. The region had the steepest traffic
declines for an eleventh consecutive month. Capacity dropped 86.7%
and the load factor was down 48.3 percentage points to 33.1%, the
lowest among regions.

European carriers saw their June international
traffic decline 77.4% versus June 2019, a gain from the 85.5%
decrease in May compared to the same month in 2019. Capacity
declined 67.3% and load factor fell 27.1 percentage points to

Middle Eastern airlines posted a 79.4% demand drop
in June compared to June 2019, improving from the 81.3% decrease
in May, versus the same month in 2019. Capacity declined 65.3% and
load factor deteriorated 31.1 percentage points to 45.3%.

North American carriers’ June demand fell 69.6%
compared to the 2019 period, improving from the 74.2% decline in
May versus two years ago. Capacity sank 57.3%, and load factor
dipped 25.3 percentage points to 62.6%.

Latin American airlines saw a 69.4% drop in June
traffic compared to the same month in 2019, improved over the
75.3% decline in May compared to May 2019. June capacity fell
64.6% and load factor dropped 11.3 percentage points to 72.7%,
which was the highest load factor among the regions for the ninth
consecutive month.

African airlines’ traffic fell 68.2% in June
versus the same month two years ago, an improvement from the 71.5%
decline in May compared to May 2019. June capacity contracted
60.0% versus June 2019, and load factor declined 14.5 percentage
points to 56.5%.

Domestic Passenger Markets

China’s domestic traffic returned to negative
territory in June, declining 10.8% compared to June 2019,
following a 6.3% growth in May versus the same period in 2019. New
restrictions had been introduced following a COVID19 outbreak in
several Chinese cities.

US domestic traffic improved from a 25.4% decline
in May versus the same month in 2019, to a 14.9% decline in June.
Life in the US was starting to see some normalcy following the
easing of measures and the rapid rollout of the COVID19

Looking Ahead

“With each passing day the hope of seeing a
significant revival in international traffic during the Northern
Hemisphere summer grows fainter,” said Walsh. “Many governments
are not following the data or the science to restore the basic
freedom of movement. Despite growing numbers of vaccinated people
and improved testing capacity we are very close to losing another
peak summer season on the important trans-Atlantic market. And the
UK’s flip-flop to reinstate quarantine for vaccinated arrivals
from France is the kind of policy development that destroys
consumer confidence when it is most needed.

“A risk-managed re-connecting of the world is what
we need. Vaccinated travelers should have their freedom of
movement returned. An efficient testing regime can sufficiently
manage risks for those unable to be vaccinated. This is the
underlying message in the latest WHO travel guidance. Some
governments are moving in this direction. The UK, Singapore and
Canada have indicated timelines to open their borders without
quarantine for vaccinated travelers. The European Commission has
recommended that its member states adopt travel protocols that are
closely aligned with the WHO—including testing for unvaccinated
travelers. Similar moves to re-open borders in line with the WHO
guidance by US—leaders in vaccinating their populations—would give
critical impetus to demonstrating that we can live and travel
while managing the risks of COVID19.”

As comparisons between 2021 and 2020 monthly
results are distorted by the extraordinary impact of COVID19,
unless otherwise noted, all comparisons above are to June 2019,
which followed a normal demand pattern.

Download the 4-page, 246KB .pdf of the June Air
Passenger Market Analysis which includes 2021 vs. 2020


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