Total US jet fuel consumption of commercial passenger flights was lower by an average of 29% during the first five months of 2020 relative to the same time last year, the country's Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a statement Thursday citing data from aviation company Cirium.
Although total US jet fuel consumption has been particularly affected by efforts to contain and mitigate the spread of COVID-19, demand for jet fuel in the US is likely to recover faster than in most other major aviation markets, the EIA said.
Increased demand for aviation services and the comparatively low share of travel that crosses international borders in the US are driving this relatively fast recovery, the agency explained.
The decline in fuel consumption by commercial passenger flights, a category of aircraft that the EIA estimates accounted for 73% of total US jet fuel consumption in January 2020, was overwhelmingly driven by a decline in the number of flights.
The decline in demand for US domestic flights, and thus for jet fuel, was higher than international flights, showing a decline of 47% between January 2020 and July 2020 compared with a decline of 70% for international flights over the same period.
Like fuel volumes, the number of US flights remained small in comparison to year-ago levels but slowly recovered from a low point in late April and early May, growing from an annual low of 5,974 flights daily on April 25 to 15,239 flights daily on Aug. 16, it added.
Flight cancelation rates have returned largely to normal, decreasing from 12,320 cancelations on March 27 to 128 cancelations on Aug. 16.
The spread of novel coronavirus pandemic has paralyzed all industries, mostly the aviation sector since it first started in Wuhan in China around January. The outbreak forced many countries to take some unprecedented measures like long-lasting lockdowns and domestic and international travel restrictions, bringing most of the sectors to a halt or leading them to work-from-home options where possible.
By Sibel Morrow