September 2020 IATA Air Passenger Market Analysis 
Published November 4, 2020. 

The recovery in passenger travel slows amid elevated risks


  • Industry-wide revenue passenger-kilometres (RPKs) declined by 72.8% year-on-year in September, a small improvement from the 75.2% fall in August. The recovery remained mostly driven by domestic markets – down 43.3% year-on-year – while there was no clear recovery in international traffic in September.
  • Even though the rebound in global economic activity continued in September, new outbreaks and further restrictions – in particular in Europe – have put some pressure on passenger traffic. This explains the moderation in the pace of the recovery this month.
  • Despite that, Europe remained the most resilient international passenger market in September. Among the main domestic markets, Russia grew in annual terms for the second consecutive month, with domestic RPKs in China also close to last year’s values

African international passenger demand continues to decline
Airlines based in Africa posted a 88.5% decline in international passenger demand in September, broadly unchanged from August. Routes to/from Europe and the Middle East were the most resilient.

Pace of improvement in traffic moderates further

In September, the pace of the improvement has moderated further compared to the previous months. Industry-wide revenue passenger-kilometres (RPKs) were 72.8% below September 2019 levels. This is only slightly better than the fall seen in August (75.3%).
    Seasonal patterns have been muted since the start of the crisis. On average since 1990, actual global traffic in September is more than 10% below that of August due to the end of the Northern Hemisphere Summer season. This year, the decline was smaller (2.3%), leading to a rise in seasonally adjusted (SA) RPKs in September. Download the full document here.