This is reported to be the largest rate of decrease in passenger traffic since 1990. However, the flight totals increased by 30% between 21 April and 27 May. This increase is said by some observers to be the first step of aviation beginning to return back to normal, provided that the pandemic doesn’t reoccur now. IATA director general, Alexandre de Juniac, said: “April was a disaster for aviation as air travel almost entirely stopped. But April may also represent the nadir of the crisis. Flight numbers are increasing. Countries are beginning to lift mobility restrictions; business confidence is showing improvement in key markets such as China, Germany, and the US. These are positive signs as we start to rebuild the industry from a stand-still. The initial green shoots will take time, possibly years, to mature.”
In the international market, international passenger demand decreased by 98.4% in April 2020 compared to April 2019 - a decrease of 58.1% compared to March 2020. IATA added that international capacity decreased by 95.1%, while the load factor reduced to 27.5% of capacity. Domestic traffic in April 2020 decreased by 86.9%, with the largest decreases reported in Australia with 96.8%, Brazil with 93.1%, and the US with 95.7%.
Meanwhile, IATA said that cargo demand in April 2020 dropped 27.7% compared to the same period in 2019 – the sharpest fall ever recorded. However, there was insufficient capacity to meet demand as a result of the loss of belly cargo operations on passenger aircraft. Global demand, measured in cargo tonne kilometres (CTKs), fell by 27.7% in April compared to April 2019 (down by 29.5% for international markets). Global capacity, measured in available cargo tonne kilometres (ACTKs), shrank by 42% in April 2020 compared to the previous year (down by 40.9% for international markets).