The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced that passenger traffic fell in January 2021.
The figures are down both compared to pre-Covid levels, January 2019, and compared to the immediate month prior, December 2020.
Total demand in January 2021 (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) was down 72 per cent compared to January 2019.
That was worse than the 70 per cent year-over-year decline recorded in December 2020.
Total domestic demand was down 47 per cent versus pre-crisis, January 2019, levels.
In December it was down 43 per cent on the previous year.
This weakening is largely driven by stricter domestic travel controls in China over the Lunar New Year holiday period.
International passenger demand in January was 86 per cent below January 2019, a further drop compared to the 85 per cent year-to-year decline recorded in December.
“This year is starting off worse than 2020 ended and that is saying a lot.
“Even as vaccination programs gather pace, new Covid-19 variants are leading governments to increase travel restrictions.
“The uncertainty around how long these restrictions will last also has an impact on future travel.
“Forward bookings in February this year for the northern Hemisphere summer travel season were 78 per cent below levels in February 2019,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA chief executive.