News & Industry Affairs / IATA

January 2020 IATA Air Passenger Market Analysis
Passenger growth slows as COVID-19 impacts the industry


  • Industry-wide revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) rose by 2.4% year-on-year in January, the slowest growth outturn since April 2010. Industry-wide available seat kilometres (ASKs) expanded 1.7% annually this month.
  • This month’s slowdown is impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak which – starting at the end of January – has particularly affected demand in the Chinese domestic and international Asia Pacific markets.
  • We expect passenger demand to weaken further in February and March as the virus spreads outside of China.

African airlines post 5.3% annual increase
African airlines posted a 5.3% annual increase in international passenger demand, almost unchanged from December 2019 (5.1%). Flight disruption in late January was also relatively small for this region’s carriers.

A soft start to the year for industry-wide RPKs…
Industry-wide revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) grew by 2.4% year-on-year in January 2020. This is a clear slowdown from 4.6% in December 2019, and the slowest growth rate since April 2010 – at the time of significant airspace closures over Europe due to volcanic ash clouds. The industry-wide seasonally adjusted (SA) series also eased in January unwinding the lift observed in December.  
    Air passenger traffic is currently being impacted by the COVID-19 virus and the resulting containment measures and cancellations. With the disruption intensifying from around January 23, the initial impacts are evident in this month’s outcome.
    Given the pattern of previous epidemics, the shock on aviation will last a number of months (typically 6-7), with the maximum impact after 2-3 months. The recent trend in passenger volumes had already been modest, with SA RPKs growing at around 4% per annum between Q2 2018 and Q4 2019...Download the full document here. 

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