Global air passenger travel plunges 94.3% in April due to Covid-19: IATA

Stranded Buddhist monks stand in a queue to board a special flight for Bangkok at Gaya airport, during the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown, in Gaya. Photo: PTI

Global air passenger traffic plunged by 94.3 per cent in April this year as compared to the same month a year ago as the coronavirus pandemic virtually shut down air travel across the world, said global airlines body IATA on Wednesday.

"This is a rate of decline never seen in the history of IATA's traffic series, which dates back to 1990," said a press release by the organisation that has around 300 airlines as its members.

"Passenger demand in April (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs), plunged 94.3 per cent compared to April 2019, as the Covid-19-related travel restrictions virtually shut down domestic and international air travel," stated the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The RPK for a flight is calculated by multiplying the number of passengers in the plane to the total distance travelled by it.

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April was a disaster for aviation as air travel almost entirely stopped. But April may also represent the nadir of the crisis. Flight numbers are increasing. Countries are beginning to lift mobility restrictions," said IATA's Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.

"And business confidence is showing improvement in key markets such as China, Germany, and the US. These are positive signs as we start to rebuild the industry from a stand-still. The initial green shoots will take time possibly years to mature, he added.

India suspended all scheduled passenger flight operations on March 25. On May 25, the country resumed domestic passenger flight services. However, international passenger flights continue to remain suspended in India.

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