Despite marginal improvements in passenger demand in July 2020, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) remains pessimistic about the current situation in aviation.

In July 2020, passenger demand, measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometers (RPK), was 79.8% lower than in July 2019, the association found. While there was an improvement from the year-to-date decline of 86.6%. The main improvement drivers were domestic markets, as international travel, apart from travel within Europe, stagnated throughout June and July 2020. Capacity, measured in Available Seat Kilometers (ASK), was down by 70.1% compared to the same month in 2019, while load factors were record-low at 59.7%.

International travel was reaping the pain of the current crisis, as demand was measured at 91.9%, while capacity crumbled to 85.2% compared to July 2019. On average, 46.4% of seats on board an aircraft were occupied, according to data compiled by IATA.

“With essentially four in five air travelers staying home, the industry remains largely paralyzed,” commented IATA Director General and chief executive officer Alexandre de Juniac. “Governments reopening and then closing borders or removing and then re-imposing quarantines does not give many consumers confidence to make travel plans, nor airlines to rebuild schedules.” In June 2020, IATA provided a grim prediction – the industry was set to lose over $84 billion, as revenues would fall to $419 billion from the $838 billion high in 2019.

“Financially, 2020 will go down as the worst year in the history of aviation,” de Juniac said at the time.

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