The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has revealed that the total air travel demand in February fell by 74.7% compared with pre-Covid levels in 2019.

The decrease is much lower compared with January, when the demand declined to 72.2%.

During February, international passenger demand dropped from 85.7% year-to-year in January to 88.7%.

Data showed that Asia-Pacific airlines recorded a 95.2% decline in February traffic, European carriers dropped by 89.0%, Middle Eastern airlines by 83.1%, North American carriers by 83.1%, Latin American airlines by 83.5% and African airlines by 68.0%.

IATA director general Willie Walsh said: “February showed no indication of a recovery in demand for international air travel. In fact, most indicators went in the wrong direction as travel restrictions tightened in the face of continuing concerns over new coronavirus variants.”

Meanwhile, IATA stated that total domestic demand was down by 51.0% versus pre-crisis levels in February 2019. In January, it was down by 47.8% in the 2019 period.

Australia’s domestic traffic in the month fell by 60.5% and US domestic traffic declined by 56.1%.

Walsh added: “An important exception was the Australian domestic market. A relaxation of restrictions on domestic flying resulted in significantly more travel.

“This tells us that people have not lost their desire to travel. They will fly, provided they can do so without facing quarantine measures.”

Walsh stated the need for urgent advancement of two key components for the recovery of air travel.

It includes the development of global standards for a digital Covid-19 test and the government agreement to accept certificates digitally.