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Jet Fuel Demand Still Has A Long Way To Recovery

Jet fuel demand for commercial flights crashed during the worldwide lockdowns in April, and although some of the demand has returned, jet fuel consumption in July was still nearly 70 percent down compared to the same month of 2019, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Friday.

Aviation fuel is the worst-hit fuel in the COVID-19 crisis and faces the most prolonged period of recovery compared to other fuels such as gasoline or diesel.

A very slow recovery in jet fuel demand will drag on global oil demand for at least another two years as overall passenger traffic numbers continue to be low and mandatory quarantines continue to stop people from traveling on international flights. Demand for gasoline has picked up from the lows in April when most of the world was under lockdown, but demand for jet fuel continues to languish and is expected to grow only marginally next year from a very low base in 2020, analysts and international agencies say. 

According to EIA estimates, using data from aviation company Cirium, global demand for jet fuel for commercial passenger flights crashed from an average of 4.3 million barrels per day (bpd) in January and February to 1.0 million bpd in April. From May onwards, jet fuel demand started to slowly creep up, but at a much slower pace than gasoline demand for road transportation, for example.

By the first two weeks of July, the consumption of jet fuel by commercial passenger flights had increased to an average of 1.6 million bpd, up from the 1-million-bpd low in April. Still, the July 2020 demand was 69 percent less than the consumption of jet fuel for commercial flights in July 2019, according to EIA estimates.

Although jet fuel demand has increased in nearly every major market from the low points in April and May, the recovery has not been equal, the administration noted. While demand in China was down 43 percent year on year in June, consumption was down significantly more in other markets, including down 75 percent in the U.S., down 80 percent in the rest of Asia-Pacific, and down 87 percent in Europe.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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