The global recovery in air travel weakened in August as governments around the world reacted to the surge in coronavirus Delta variant cases by imposing new restrictions, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Thursday.
“IATA announced that the recovery in air travel decelerated in August compared to July, as government actions in response to concerns over the COVID-19 Delta variant cut deeply into domestic travel demand,” the Geneva-based organization said in a press release.
Total demand for air travel in August 2021 measured in revenue passenger kilometers, or RPKs, was down 56% compared to August 2019 indicating a slowdown from July when demand was 53% below July 2019 levels, IATA said.
“August results reflect the impact of concerns over the Delta variant on domestic travel, even as international travel continued on a snail’s pace toward a full recovery that cannot happen until governments restore the freedom to travel, IATA added.
The slowdown in recovery was entirely driven by domestic markets, which were down 32.2% compared to August 2019, a major deterioration from the previous month of July. The worst impact was in China, while India and Russia were the only large markets to show an improvement over July, according to IATA.