April 2020 IATA Air Passenger Market Analysis 
Published June 2, 2020. IATA Economic Reports.

Air passenger demand comes to a standstill amidst lockdowns


  • Industry-wide revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) shrank by 94.3% year-on-year in April, the largest contraction in recent history amidst large scale lockdowns linked to COVID-19. The decline was broad-based across all regions.
  • April’s outcome might represent the lowest point in the crisis. More countries have been easing their lockdowns throughout May and some airlines announced plans to partially resume their operations.
  • Industry-wide available seat kilometres (ASKs) plummeted by 87% year-on-year in April. With demand declining faster than capacity, industry-wide passenger load factor fell by 46.6ppts compared to a year ago.

African airlines register largest fall in international Passenger Load Factor (PLF)
Capacity (ASKs) reductions at -88% for African carriers. As a result of less radical capacity cuts, the largest fall in international PLF was registered by African airlines (-65ppts). Given the unique nature of the shock, traditional drivers of air travel demand play temporarily a less significant role in determining RPK developments. That said, these drivers will gain their importance again in the near term once lockdowns and restrictions are lifted and the industry starts its path towards recovery.

Unprecedented fall in air passenger volumes…

The 2020 public health crisis has led to a de facto shutdown of international and domestic aviation. Revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) fell by more than 94% year-on-year in April – a rate never seen in the history of our time series that goes back to 1990. The contraction builds on the massive 55% year-on-year decline seen in March. Unsurprisingly, seasonally adjusted (SA) volumes (i.e. RPKs stripped of seasonal ups and downs) followed a similar pattern, reaching the lowest point in the past 30 years....Download the full document here.