International and domestic travel demand showed significant momentum in July compared with June, but demand remained far below pre-pandemic levels, according to the latest report from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Among the report’s highlights:
  • Total demand for air travel in July 2021 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was down 53.1% compared with July 2019. This is a significant improvement from June, when demand was 60% below June 2019 levels.
  • International passenger demand in July was 73.6% below July 2019, bettering the 80.9% decline recorded in June 2021 versus two years ago. All regions showed improvement, and North American airlines posted the smallest decline in international RPKs.
  • Total domestic demand was down 15.6% versus pre-crisis levels (July 2019), compared with the 22.1% decline recorded in June against June 2019.
North American carriers’ July demand fell 62.1% compared with the 2019 period, much improved on the 69.4% decline in June versus two years ago. Capacity sank 52%, and load factor dipped 18.6 percentage points to 69.3%.
Willie Walsh, director general, said the results reflect people’s eagerness to travel during the Northern Hemisphere summer, with domestic traffic back to 85% of pre-crisis levels. However, he said, international demand has recovered only just over a quarter of 2019 volume, adding that government decisions “are not being driven by data” in implementing border control measures. He said that at a minimum, vaccinated travelers should not face restrictions, “which would go a long way to reconnecting the world and reviving the travel and tourism sectors.”