February 2021 IATA Air Passenger Market Analysis 
Published April 7, 2021.  

Negative passenger demand continues


  • Passenger traffic remained weak in February. Industry-wide revenue passenger-kilometres (RPKs) were 74.7% below pre-crisis levels in February 2019, compared to January’s level which was 72% down. This weakness was driven by deteriorations in most international markets (down 88.7% overall on February 2019) as well as in domestic China (down 51.2%).
  • While COVID cases have fallen globally in February, they remain high, and slow vaccination progresses in many countries have led many governments to maintain strict travel restrictions.
  • Positive signs were seen in domestic markets such as India, Australia and the US, which improved. Scheduled flights and bookings patterns point to a moderate rebound of RPKs in March.

African airlines post top performance again
Reported COVID cases in Africa were falling in February. International travel restrinctions remained less strict than elsewhere, helping carriers based in the region to top the international RPKs performance chart for the fifth consecutive month, with a 68.0% decline compared to pre-crisis outcomes.

Air travel remains weak…

In February 2021, new COVID-19 cases remained elevated globally and governments maintained travel restrictions. As a result, industry-wide revenue passenger-kilometres (RPKs) remained weak, at a level 74.7% lower than February 2019 – a pre-crisis month that allows to better understand growth outcomes. In January, there was a 72.2% fall versus January 2019.
    The upwards trend in seasonally adjusted (SA) RPKs has also flattened off since November. There was a slight improvement versus January...Download the full document here.