New Delhi, July 28: Global air passenger traffic will not return to pre-COVID levels until 2024, a year later than previously projected, as international travel curbs remain in place in most countries due to the coronavirus pandemic, IATA said Tuesday. Moreover, the overall domestic passenger traffic was 86.5 per cent less in June 2020 than what was observed a year ago, the global airlines body added.

Passenger traffic is measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs), which is calculated by multiplying the number of seats that were filled with passengers to the distance travelled by the flight. India's Civil Aviation Ministry Extends Capping on Fares of Domestic Flights Till November 24.

The IATA, which has around 290 airlines as its members, said the international passenger traffic in June was 96.8 per cent less than the figures of June 2019. "Global passenger traffic (RPKs) will not return to pre-COVID-19 levels until 2024, a year later than previously projected," it said.

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's director general and CEO, said: "Most countries are still closed to international arrivals or have imposed quarantines that have the same effect as an outright lockdown."

"Summer — our industry's busiest season — is passing by rapidly; with little chance for an upswing in international air travel unless governments move quickly and decisively to find alternatives to border closures, confidence destroying stop-start re-openings and demand-killing quarantine,” said de Juniac.

Scheduled international passenger flights continue to remain suspended in India since March 23. However, India has formed bilateral air bubbles with countries like the US, Germany and France to allow airlines of the two countries in the pact to operate special international flights between them.

The aviation sector has been significantly impacted due to the travel restrictions imposed in India and other countries in view of the pandemic. All airlines in India have taken cost-cutting measures such as pay cuts, leave-without-pay and firing of employees.

India resumed domestic passenger flights from May 25 after a gap of two months. The airlines have been allowed to operate only a maximum of 45 per cent of their pre-COVID domestic flights. The occupancy in Indian domestic flights has been around 50-60 per cent since May 25.

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