Lagos — The International Air Transport Association (IATA) yesterday released an updated global passenger forecast showing that the recovery in traffic has been slower than had been expected.

In Africa, passengers’ traffic for June fell by 98.1 per cent, marginally from a 98.6% demand drop in May.

According to IATA, capacity contracted 84.5%, and load factor dived 62.1 percentage points to just 8.9% of seats filled, lowest among regions.

Daily Trust reports that in Nigeria, domestic flights started on July 8 with load factor still shrinking to an all-time low.

This is just as the association representing some 290 airlines carrying 80 per cent of global air traffic predicted that global passenger traffic (revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) will not return to pre-COVID-19 levels until 2024.

This is a year later than previously projected.

“Recovery to pre-COVID-19 levels, however, will also slide by a year from 2022 to 2023,” the report said.

For 2020, global passenger numbers (enplanements) are expected to decline by 55% compared to 2019, worsened from the April forecast of 46%.

IATA Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, commenting on the report said: “Passenger traffic hit bottom in April, but the strength of the upturn has been very weak.

“What improvement we have seen has been domestic flying. International markets remain largely closed. Consumer confidence is depressed and not helped by the UK’s weekend decision to impose a blanket quarantine on all travelers returning from Spain.”

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