February 2020 IATA Air Passenger Market Analysis
Air travel shows the first dramatic impact from COVID-19


Highlights

  • Industry-wide revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) contracted by 14.1% year-on-year in February, the worst performance since the 9/11 attacks. Industry-wide capacity (ASKs) also declined sharply, down 8.7% year-on-year.
  • This month’s outcome was driven by the COVID-19 outbreak which weighed significantly on the China domestic and Asia-Pacific international markets.
  • RPKs are expected to decline further in March amidst the rise in restrictive measures, heightened traveler anxiety and a new wave of travel bans that have led to de facto closure of international aviation.

Growth turns negative in Africa
International RPKs flown by African carriers contracted by 1.1% year-on-year in February, the weakest outcome since 2015. The decline was driven by a ~35% year-on-year fall in the Africa-Asia market; a market which had previously been one of the main contributors to the region’s growth.


Industry-wide decline driven by Asia-Pacific

Industry-wide revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) contracted by 14.1% year-on-year in February – the worst outcome since 2001 when air traffic plunged in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. This outcome was despite the extra (leap year) day this year. In monthon-month terms, RPKs collapsed by 15%, erasing their gain from the past three years.

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