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Covid-19: Demand for air transport services starts to show recovery

AirAsia cabin crew checking the body temperature of a passenger upon boarding.

TheMole
Written by TheMole

KUALA LUMPUR, June 4 2020: The demand for air transport services is starting to show signs of recovery from the global Covid-19 travel restrictions said International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Its director-general and chief executive officer Alexandre de Juniac said the positive development was a welcomed relief after passenger demand in April, as measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs), plunged 94.3 per cent compared to the same month last year.

He said the decline rate, caused by the pandemic-induced travel restrictions was the worst ever in the history of IATA’s traffic series, which dates back to 1990.

He said recent figures nonetheless showed signs of recovery with daily flight totals increasing by 30 per cent between the low point on April 21 and May 27.

The increase, he said, is primarily in domestic operations and off of a very low base (5.7 per cent of 2019 demand). 

“While this uptick is not significant to the global dimension of the air transport industry, it does suggest that the industry has seen the bottom of the crisis, provided there is no recurrence. In addition, it is the very first signal of aviation beginning the likely long process of re-establishing connectivity,” said de Juniac in a statement. 

He said countries are beginning to lift mobility restrictions and business confidence is showing improvement in key markets such as China, Germany, and the United States. 

“These are positive signs as we start to rebuild the industry from a standstill. The initial green shoots will take time – possibly years – to mature,” he said.

He stressed that airlines will be key to the economic recovery and therefore it is vital that the aviation industry is ready with bio-safety measures that could instill confidence among passengers and air transport workers.

“That’s why the speedy implementation of International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) global guidelines for safely re-starting aviation is the top priority,” he said.

The ICAO Council’s “Takeoff: Guidance for Air Travel through the Covid-19 Public Health Crisis” is the authoritative and comprehensive framework of risk-based temporary measures for air transport operations during the Covid-19 crisis. 

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