The average level of stocks over the first four weeks of November stood at 37.2 million barrels, whereas in January, that figure was 42.6 million barrels.
The reduction was linked to an increase In the number of flights – in January 2021, the average number of passengers taking flights stood at 738,000, while in November that figure had climbed to 1.92 million. This fact the figure had more than doubled was a direct consequence of the lifting of quarantine restrictions on U.S. domestic flights. Pennsylvania had imposed a ban on flights from any other state – this was lifted on 1st March. Massachusetts lifted its ban on 22nd March and New York state on 1st April.
The lifting of restrictions also spurred growth in air cargo volumes – from January to August 2021, the total volume of air cargo increased by 10.3 % year-on-year to 13.1 billion ton-miles, according to statistics from the Department of Transport. Reductions in aviation fuel stocks were not even offset by increases in output by U.S. refineries – from 1.1 million barrels per day in January 2021 to 1.5 million bpd in September, the EIA said. The volume of imported aviation fuel doubled over the same period.
The United States was not alone in seeing a recovery in the airline industry. In the European Union, in the first week of January 2021, a total of 61.6 % of flights were operated compared to the same period of 2019. By the last week of November, that gap had been reduced to 24.6 %, according to figures from Eurocontrol.
In India, from October to November 2021, the number of passengers checking in for flights rose by 23% (from 566,000 to 698,000) and the number of domestic flights increased by 17 % (from 4,600 to 5,400), Argus reported.
In Russia, in September 2021, passenger traffic on domestic flights rose by 26 % year-on-year, while in Australia that figure stood at 47.8 % and in Brazil it hit 85.2 %, according to the latest monthly data issued by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). And these figures inevitably affected demand for aviation fuel. In the period from January to September 2021, export of aviation fuel from countries in the Asia-Pacific region more than doubled (from 2.3 million bpd to 2.6 million bpd, according to data from Refinitiv).