The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has revealed that reduced passenger demand continued in September despite relaxed lockdown rules.

During the month, total passenger demand, which is measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs), has improved slightly over the 75.2% year-to-year decline recorded in August. However, it was 72.8% below the same period last year.

Capacity during this period dropped by 63% compared with a year ago while the load factor declined by 21.8 percentage points to 60.1%.

Data shared by IATA also revealed that international passenger demand decreased by 88.8% in September compared with the same period last year.

Domestic demand in September improved from a 50.7% decline in August but was down by 43.3% compared with the previous year.

Capacity for international and domestic passenger respectively reduced by 78.9% and 33.3%.

IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said: “We have hit a wall in the industry’s recovery. A resurgence in Covid-19 outbreaks – particularly in Europe and the US – combined with governments’ reliance on the blunt instrument of quarantine in the absence of globally aligned testing regimes, has halted momentum toward re-opening borders to travel.

“Although domestic markets are doing better, this is primarily owing to improvements in China and Russia. And domestic traffic represents just a bit more than a third of total traffic, so it is not enough to sustain a general recovery.”

Concurrently, IATA’s September data for global air freight markets revealed that air cargo demand remained depressed compared to 2019 levels.

Global demand, which is measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs), improved from the 12.1% year-on-year drop recorded in August but was 8% below previous-year levels in September (-9.9% for international operations).

Last month, IATA again called on governments worldwide to provide additional financial support to the aviation industry.