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Travel bans by governments, against the advice of WHO, could threaten the travel's recovery Travel bans by governments, against the advice of WHO, could threaten the travel's recovery

Omicron response 'unfortunate'

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says the recovery in air travel continued in October 2021 with broad-based improvements in both domestic and international markets. However, it warned that the imposition of travel bans by governments, against the advice of the WHO, could threaten the sector’s recovery.

Total demand for air travel in October 2021 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was down 49.4% compared to October 2019. This was improved over the 53.3% fall recorded in September 2021, compared to two years earlier.

Domestic markets were down 21.6% compared to October 2019, bettering the 24.2% decline recorded in September versus September 2019.

International passenger demand in October was 65.5% below October 2019, compared to a 69.0% decline for September versus the 2019 period, with all regions showing improvement.

‘October’s traffic performance reinforces that people will travel when they are permitted to. Unfortunately, government responses to the emergence of the Omicron variant are putting at risk the global connectivity it has taken so long to rebuild,’ says Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general.

Asia-Pacific airlines saw their October international traffic fall 92.8% compared to October 2019, fractionally improved over the 93.1% decline recorded for September 2021 compared to two years ago. Capacity dropped 83.8% and the load factor was down 44.0 percentage points to 35.7%, the lowest among regions by far.

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