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July International Passenger Traffic Sees Boost, but Well Below pre-Covid Levels

Both international and domestic travel demand showed significant momentum in July 2021 compared to June, but demand remained far below pre-Covid-19 levels, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently said.

According to data released by the association, total demand for air travel in July 2021 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was down 53.1 percent compared to July 2019. However, IATA said this was a “significant improvement” from June when demand was 60 percent below June 2019 levels.

International passenger demand in July was 73.6 percent below July 2019, bettering the 80.9 percent decline recorded in June 2021 versus two years ago.

European carriers saw their July international traffic decline 64.2 percent versus July 2019, significantly bettering the 77 percent decrease in June compared to the same month in 2019.

International RPK growth versus the same month in 2019 (airline region of registration basis).

International RPK growth versus the same month in 2019 (airline region of registration basis).

Total domestic demand was down 15.6 percent versus pre-crisis levels (July 2019), compared to the 22.1 percent decline recorded in June over June 2019.

“July results reflect people’s eagerness to travel during the Northern Hemisphere summer,” said IATA Director General Willie Walsh.

Commenting on the data, Walsh pointed out that domestic traffic was back to 85 percent of pre-crisis levels, but international demand has only recovered just over a quarter of 2019 volumes.

“The problem is border control measures. Government decisions are not being driven by data, particularly with respect to the efficacy of vaccines. People traveled where they could, and that was primarily in domestic markets,” he said, adding that a recovery of international travel needs governments to restore the freedom to travel.

According to Walsh, vaccinated travelers should not face restrictions.

“That would go a long way to reconnecting the world and reviving the travel and tourism sectors,” he added.

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