June air travel figures show slight improvement

June air travel figures show slight improvement

Demand for flights nudges up compared with May but remains 60% below 2019 figures 

Air passenger demand globally strengthened slightly in June but remained well below pre-pandemic levels, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Total demand for air travel in June 2021, as measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs, was down 60% compared with June 2019, the association reported.

The deficit marked a small improvement on the 63% downturn recorded in May 2021 versus May 2019.

Carryings by Middle Eastern airlines remained further adrift of two years ago. Demand in June was 79% down on June 2019, a slight improvement on the 81% downturn in May versus May 2019. In June, capacity in the region declined by 65% on two years ago and the average load factor was down by 31 percentage points to 45%.


International passenger demand in June was 81% below June 2019, an improvement from the 85% decline recorded in May 2021 versus two years ago. All regions with the exception of Asia-Pacific contributed to the slightly higher demand.

Total domestic demand was down 22% versus pre-crisis levels (June 2019), a slight gain over the 24% decline recorded in May 2021 versus the 2019 period. The performance across key domestic markets was mixed, with Russia reporting robust expansion while China returned to negative territory. 

IATA director general Willie Walsh believes that it’s time for governments to act. He said: “We are seeing movement in the right direction, particularly in some key domestic markets. But the situation for international travel is nowhere near where we need to be. June should be the start of peak season, but airlines were carrying just 20% of 2019 levels. That’s not a recovery, it’s a continuing crisis caused by government inaction.” 

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