IATA data shows that passenger traffic growth slowed to 2.4% in January – the weakest monthly increase since April 2010, and a sharp decrease from December 2019’s 4.6% rise in revenue passenger-kilometres.

“January was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the traffic impacts we are seeing owing to the Covid-19 outbreak, given that major travel restrictions in China did not begin until 23 January,” warns IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac. “Nevertheless, it was still enough to cause our slowest traffic growth in nearly a decade.”

Worst-hit among the regions were Latin America and Asia-Pacific, which each saw RPKs grow just 0.4% in January. Europe showed growth by 1.6%, while the figures for Africa, the Middle East and North America were in the 5-6% range.

Capacity as measured by available seat-kilometres was raised 1.7%. Load factor edged up 0.6 percentage points to 80.3%.