October 2020 IATA Air Passenger Market Analysis 
Published December 8, 2020.  

Slow passenger recovery in October


  • Industry-wide revenue passenger-kilometres (RPKs) fell by 70.6% year-on-year in October, a modest improvement from the 72.2% decline in September. As for the previous months, that gain has been driven by domestic markets (down 40.8% year-on-year), as the pace of the fall in international RPKs was similar to last month (-87.8%).
  • Those aggregates hide large disparities across the regions. Europe deteriorated for the second consecutive month, but the recovery accelerated in Latin America. Traffic in Asia Pacific remained muted, with domestic outcomes ranging from back to pre-crisis demand in China to no clear rebound in Australia.
  • Those differences are explained by divergences in new COVID cases and government responses. The rebound in economic activity is also patchy, with certain sectors performing strongly while others double dipped.

African airlines are the most resilient
Airlines registered in Africa became the most resilient region in October, with international RPKs falling 78.5% yoy, up from an 84.9% decline the previous month.

Improvements in passenger traffic remain slow…

Improvements in air passenger traffic slowed further in October, with industry-wide revenue passengerkilometres (RPKs) declining by 70.6% year-on-year. The same metric had fallen by 72.2% in September and 74.8% in August. As has been the case since the start of the rebound in May, improvements were driven by domestic markets in October.
    Seasonally adjusted (SA) RPKs also recovered in October, but the month-on-month pace of grow (3.5%) was much slower than in previous months. 

…but regional disparities are wide…

While domestic markets overall drove the recovery, there are currently significant divergences across countries and regions. Domestic China was mostly back to normal in October, Japan and Brazil posted robust improvements, and Russia remained more resilient than most markets. But traffic is still very weak in domestic US and even more so in Australia. International markets overall did not improve in October. But there were also some disparities, with airlines in Latin America posting a strong rebound, while international traffic worsened in Europe and remained muted in Asia Pacific. Download the full document here.