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Monthly civil aviation statistics, November 2020

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Released: 2021-01-29


In November, air travel recovery appeared to stall, as major Canadian airlines carried 780,000 passengers on scheduled and charter services. This was down 87.3% from the same month in 2019 and 12.0% from October, somewhat larger than a typical seasonal decline.

As in previous months, most travel was domestic as international demand remained generally weak amid border travel restrictions and enforcement of quarantines. However, domestic passenger volumes declined month over month in November, while international passenger volumes increased.

Compared with November 2019, air traffic fell to 1.6 billion passenger-kilometres in November, pushing operating revenues down 81.8% to $316.7 million.

International travel up from October, while domestic travel declines

In November, two more level I air carriers resumed limited scheduled services, leaving one carrier that has not yet restarted operations. Despite more carriers in service, operating metrics declined in November compared with October, reflecting a typical seasonal movement.

However, given that these two additional carriers operate mostly international flights, the sectoral composition changed. In November, domestic air travel declined from October, while international travel increased. Similarly, while domestic air carrier movements (takeoffs and landings) at major Canadian airports have outpaced international movements since the beginning of the pandemic, domestic movements fell and international movements rose month over month in November. Additionally, according to the release Travel between Canada and other countries, November 2020, the number of Canadians returning from the United States by plane and from overseas countries increased in November from the previous month.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Indexes of passengers carried and air carrier movements, domestic and international, January to November 2020
Indexes of passengers carried and air carrier movements, domestic and international, January to November 2020

Demand remains low amid COVID-19 resurgence

Canadian level I air carriers flew 780,000 passengers on scheduled and charter services in November, down 87.3% from the same month in 2019. This was slightly bigger than the 86.6% decrease registered in October, and marked the ninth consecutive year-over-year monthly decline—a period with the sharpest drop on record.

Traffic fell 89.6% year over year to 1.6 billion passenger-kilometres in November, while capacity contracted 79.1% to 4.0 billion available seat-kilometres.

As a result, the passenger load factor—the ratio of passenger-kilometres to available seat-kilometres—fell to 40.1%, down sharply from the 80.8% registered in November 2019 and identical to the load factor recorded in October.

Fewer passengers impact all measures

With far fewer international flights available, each passenger travelled an average of 2,040 kilometres in November, down 18.2% from November 2019.

As the number of flying hours dropped 79.3% to 35,000 in November, the volume of turbo fuel consumed also declined, falling 75.0% to 144.3 million litres.

The operating revenue of level I carriers totalled $316.7 million in November, down 81.8% from $1.7 billion the same month a year earlier.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Passengers carried, Canadian air carriers, level I
Passengers carried, Canadian air carriers, level I

Chart 3  Chart 3: Passenger load factor, Canadian air carriers, level I
Passenger load factor, Canadian air carriers, level I

Chart 4  Chart 4: Turbo fuel consumed, Canadian air carriers, level I
Turbo fuel consumed, Canadian air carriers, level I

  Note to readers

The Monthly Civil Aviation Survey covers all Canadian level I air carriers: Air Canada (including Air Canada Rouge), Air Transat, Jazz, Porter, Sky Regional, Sunwing, and WestJet (including Swoop, WestJet Encore and WestJet Link).

The number of air carriers increased from six in 2019 to seven in 2020, after one level II air carrier was reclassified level I.

The average passenger trip length is calculated by dividing the number of passenger-kilometres by the number of passengers. Trips across Canada and the world are included in this calculation.

Data in this monthly release are not seasonally adjusted.

Data for October 2020 have been revised.

Contact information

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