July global air demand fell 53.1 percent compared with its pre-pandemic level in 2019, according to the International Air Transport Association, a comparative improvement from a 60 percent fall in June. July 2021 capacity dropped 45.2 percent from its July 2019 level. Load factor was down 12.4 percentage points to 73.1 percent.
July crossborder demand fell 73.6 percent from July 2019, comparatively better than the 80.9 percent decline in June. However, the gains in demand could reverse as Covid-19 cases rise again, which could trigger another round of governmental restrictions and lockdowns, according to IATA. July crossborder capacity was down 63.8 percent from July 2019, and load factor fell 23.1 percentage points to 62.1 percent.
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Domestic demand continued to drive the recovery. July 2021 domestic demand was down 15.6 percent from July 2019, an improvement from the 22.4 percent decline in June. U.S. domestic demand reached 92 percent of the pre-pandemic level. Capacity fell 10.7 percent from the same period in 2019. Load factor fell 4.8 percentage points to 81.4 percent.
Based on the latest bookings for August, global air demand outlook will be weaker due to rising Covid-19 cases, according to IATA. In particular, domestic travel bookings are falling due to China's imposition of strict domestic travel restrictions amid a growing spread of the delta variant in the country, the association said.
"Domestic traffic was back to 85 percent of pre-crisis levels, but international demand has only recovered just over a quarter of 2019 volumes," IATA director general Willie Walsh said in a statement. "The problem is border control measures. A recovery of international travel needs governments to restore the freedom to travel."