New data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) suggests that while air travel numbers are still down, they are bouncing back.
IATA officials revealed a 67.2 percent decline in global air traffic in March, compared to the same month in 2019. The March totals were an improvement from February’s 74.9 percent decline compared to February 2019.
Domestic travel was the highlight of the air traffic rebound, which bounced back to 67.7 percent of March 2019 levels. International flights were still down 87.8 percent globally compared to March 2019 due to the COVID-19-related travel restrictions still in place.
“The positive momentum we saw in some key domestic markets in March is an indication of the strong recovery we are anticipating in international markets as travel restrictions are lifted,” IATA director general Willie Walsh said. “People want and need to fly. And we can be optimistic that they will do so when restrictions are removed.”
From a global perspective, capacity dropped 56.8 percent and load factor dropped 19.7 percentage points to 62.3 percent. Domestic capacity fell 20.5 percent, while load factor dropped 12.5 percentage points to 71.6 percent.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the USA announced over 1.6 million people were screened at airport checkpoints on May 2, the highest number of passengers since March 12, 2020. The TSA has now screened at least one million people per day since March 11.
By Joe Cusmano