The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released data for total passenger traffic in March 2021.

The total demand for air travel as measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) was down by 67.2% compared with the same period in 2019.

Driven by improvements in domestic markets, particularly China, demand rose compared to the 74.9% decline in February 2021.

During the month, international passenger demand dropped 87.8% from March 2019 but showed a slight improvement from 89.0% in February 2021.

Furthermore, total domestic demand fell by 32.3% compared with pre-Covid-19 crisis levels in March 2019.

IATA director general Willie Walsh said: “The positive momentum we saw in some key domestic markets in March is an indication of the strong recovery we are anticipating in international markets as travel restrictions are lifted. People want and need to fly. And we can be optimistic that they will do so when restrictions are removed.”

This March, global air cargo demand as measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs) rose 4.4% compared with March 2019 and 0.4% against February 2021.

Global air cargo capacity, which is measured in available cargo tonne-kilometres (ACTKs), also increased by 5.6% compared with the previous month.

Walsh added: “The crisis has shown that air cargo can meet fundamental challenges by adopting innovations quickly. The sector needs to retain this momentum post-crisis to drive the sector’s long-term efficiency with digitalisation.”