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IATA Sees Domestic Air Travel Demand Improving

“…when people are given the freedom to fly, they take advantage of it.” – IATA

Domestic air travel demand improved in April 2021 compared to the prior month, although it remained well below pre-pandemic levels, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Wednesday.

On the other hand, IATA said recovery in international passenger travel continued to be stalled in the face of government-imposed travel restrictions.

“As we enter the peak summer travel season in the Northern Hemisphere, we know that many people want to enjoy their freedom to travel… After a year-and-a-half of Covid-19 there is sufficient data for governments to manage the risks of Covid-19 without blanket travel bans,” IATA Director General Willie Walsh said.

According to data provided by the association, total demand for air travel in April 2021 was down 65.4 percent compared to April 2019 – an improvement over the 66.9 percent decline recorded in March 2021 versus March 2019. IATA said the better performance was driven by gains in most domestic markets.

Photo source: European Tourism Manifesto

International passenger demand in April was 87.3 percent below April 2019, little changed from the 87.8 percent decline recorded in March 2021 versus two years ago.

IATA’s data showed that total domestic demand was down 25.7 percent versus pre-crisis levels (April 2019), much improved over March 2021, when domestic traffic was down 31.6 percent versus the 2019 period.

According to the association, as with March, all markets except Brazil and India showed improvement compared to March 2021, with both China and Russia reporting traffic growth compared to pre-Covid-19 levels.

“The continuing strong recovery in domestic markets tells us that when people are given the freedom to fly, they take advantage of it. Unfortunately, that freedom still does not exist in most international markets. When it does, I’m confident we will see a similar resurgence in demand,” Walsh said.

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