GENEVA

Global passenger traffic for March plummeted nearly 53% in March compared to the same period last year, the biggest plunge in recent history, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said Wednesday.

IATA showed that the passenger traffic measured in total revenue passenger kilometers dived 52.9% compared to March 2019.

“March was a disastrous month for aviation. Airlines progressively felt the growing impact of the COVID-19 related border closings and restrictions on mobility, including in domestic markets,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO in a statement.

Demand was at the same level it was in 2006 but we have the fleets and employees for double that. Worse, we know that the situation deteriorated even more in April and most signs point to a slow recovery,”

Asia-Pacific airlines led the decliners, with March traffic dropping 65.5% compared to a year earlier. This was more than double the 30.7% decline in February.

European carriers saw March demand fall 54.3% year-on-year. In February 2020, traffic was virtually flat compared to February 2019, while capacity dropped 42.9%.

Middle Eastern airlines posted a 45.9% traffic decrease in March, reversing February’s 1.6% increase while capacity dropped 33.5%.

North American carriers’ traffic plunged 53.7% compared to March a year ago, dramatically worsening from February’s 2.9% drop year-on-year. Capacity fell 38.1%.

African airlines’ traffic fell 42.8% in March, a massive deterioration from a 1.1% decline in February while capacity dropped 32.9%.

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