In a recent report, IATA said European carriers’ capacity rose 174.8 percent and load factor climbed 30.3 percentage points to 70.9 percent.
The association added that air travel in general posted a strong rebound in February 2022 compared to January 2022, as Omicron-related impacts moderated outside of Asia.
“The war in Ukraine, which began on 24 February, did not have a major impact on traffic levels,” IATA said.
Total traffic in February 2022 was up 115.9 percent compared to the same month in 2021, an improvement from January 2022, which was up 83.1 percent compared to January 2021. Compared to February 2019, however, traffic was down 45.5 percent.
Domestic traffic also rose by 60.7 percent compared to a year ago, building on a 42.6 percent increase in January 2022 compared to January 2021. Domestic traffic in February was 21.8 percent below the volumes of February 2019.
European carriers, according to IATA, saw their February traffic rise 380.6 percent in revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) versus a year ago versus, which was an improvement over the 224.3 percent increase in January 2022 compared to the same month in 2021.
Meanwhile, international RPKs rose 256.8 percent versus February 2021, with all regions showing an improvement in their performance compared to the prior month.
According to IATA Director General Willie Walsh, the recovery in air travel is attributed to the lifting of restrictions by governments in many parts of the world.
“States that persist in attempting to lock out the disease, rather than managing it, as we do with other diseases, risk missing out on the enormous economic and societal benefits that a restoration of international connectivity will bring,” he said.
Huge increase in passenger numbers expected in coming months
Moreover, Walsh said that as the long-awaited recovery in air travel accelerates, it is important that infrastructure providers are prepared for a huge increase in passenger numbers in the coming months.
“We are already seeing reports of unacceptably long lines at some airports owing to the growing number of travelers. And that is even before the surge of Easter holiday travel in many markets,” he said, adding that the peak Northern summer travel season will be critical for jobs throughout the travel and tourism value chain..
“Now is the time to prepare. Governments can help by ensuring that border positions are staffed adequately and that background security checks for new staff are managed as efficiently as possible,” Walsh said.