August 2021 IATA Air Passenger Market Analysis 
Published September 30, 2021.  

Air travel demand decreases


  • The spread of the Delta variant led to a modest deterioration in air travel in August. Industry-wide revenue passengerkilometres (RPKs) fell by 56.0% compared to August 2019, following a 53.0% drop in July. This was entirely driven by domestic markets developments, in particular – but not only – the Chinese domestic market.
  • On the contrary, there was a broad-based improvement in international markets in August, led by growing vaccination rates and less stringent international travel restrictions in some regions. Looking ahead, travel restrictions may continue to ease, but there are some risks, notably from low vaccination in Africa and slowing economic activity.
  • Bookings for September point to a deterioration in the international recovery, and to broadly flat domestic RPKs.

Low vaccination rates in Africa slowing recovery

International RPKs of African carriers fell by 58.5% in August versus 2019. This is an improvement from the 60.4% fall in July, but the share of fully vaccinated people remains below 5% of the population, meaning that gains in traffic are at risk.

Global air travel recovery pauses in August

As had already been indicated by bookings, global air travel – and in particular domestic China – was impacted by the Delta variant in August. Industry-wide revenue passenger-kilometres (RPKs) were 56.0% below pre-crisis 2019 levels in August 2021. This is a deterioration compared to the 53% fall in July...Download the full document here.