Total passenger demand was down 70.6% in October compared to a year ago, according to the latest statistics from the International Air Transport Association.
Amid continued travel restrictions and quarantine mandates — and as the U.S. awaits a vaccine, with hospitals filling up again amid rising cases of COVID-19 — international passenger demand in Oct. was down 87.8% compared to Oct. 2019, and that percentage has barely budged since the 88.0% year-to-year decline reported in September, the IATA noted.
Domestic demand, meanwhile, also has miles to go on the road to recovery. Domestic traffic was down 40.8% compared to 2019 – a slight improvement from the 43.0% year-to-year decline recorded in September, according to the IATA.
“Fresh outbreaks of COVID-19 and governments’ continued reliance on heavy-handed quarantines resulted in another catastrophic month for air travel demand. While the pace of recovery is faster in some regions than others, the overall picture for international travel is grim,” Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO said in a statement Tuesday.
“This uneven recovery is more pronounced in domestic markets, with China’s domestic market having nearly recovered, while most others remain deeply depressed,” he continued.
The IATA estimates airlines will lose $118.5 billion this year, or $66 for every passenger that’s carried. What’s more, it predicts the industry will lose $38.7 billion in 2021 — and that’s assuming borders re-open by midyear.
The news comes as more airlines ramp up COVID testing efforts. American Airlines on Tuesday announced travelers flying domestically including Puerto Rico will be able to get an at-home COVID test before they depart for $129.