The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has downgraded its global airline traffic forecast for 2020 as recovery from the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic remains weaker than expected.

Having initially estimated 2020 traffic to decline by 63% compared with 2019, IATA has further reduced the figure to 66%.

During August, revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) were down by 75.3% in comparison to the same period last year.

Load factors that measure the proportion of aircraft seats filled fell by 27.2 points to a record low of 58.5% during the month and available seat kilometres (ASKs) were down 63.8% when compared with 2019.

IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said: “August’s disastrous traffic performance puts a cap on the industry’s worst-ever summer season.

“International demand recovery is virtually non-existent and domestic markets in Australia and Japan actually regressed in the face of new outbreaks and travel restrictions.

“A few months ago, we thought that a full-year fall in demand of -63% compared to 2019 was as bad as it could get.

“With the dismal peak summer travel period behind us, we have revised our expectations downward to -66%.”

The data also reveals that domestic markets were doing better in terms of recovery than international markets.

Meanwhile, airlines are urging governments to stop quarantines and other travel curbs and instead implement rapid Covid-19 testing at airports.

Last month, global air freight markets data released by IATA revealed that global demand is at lower levels when compared with last year.