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IATA: Global Air Travel Making Strong Recovery Despite Disruption

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced this week that global air travel was back on track in June reaching 70.8 percent of pre-Covid-19 levels and driven by strong passenger demand despite the challenging times for the sector.

IATA is at the same time calling for “flexibility” so that increasing passenger demand can be met during a time of great disruption at airports worldwide which are suffering from staff shortages.

According to IATA data, total traffic in June was up 76.2 percent compared to June 2021, driven by the ongoing strong recovery in international traffic.

Domestic traffic for June 2022 was up 5.2 percent compared to the same month a year ago. IATA attributed the positive trend to improvements in most markets combined with fewer Covid-related restrictions in the Chinese domestic market.

In total, domestic traffic in June was at 81.4 percent of June 2019 levels.

International traffic meanwhile, increased by 229.5 percent over June 2021 again due to fewer travel restrictions in most parts of the Asia-Pacific region. June 2022 international traffic reached 65.0 percent of June 2019 levels.

In Europe, June traffic increased by 234.4 percent compared to the same month in 2021. Capacity rose by 134.5 percent and load factor by 25.8 percentage points to 86.3 percent. International traffic within Europe is now above pre-pandemic levels in seasonally adjusted terms, IATA said.

“Demand for air travel remains strong. After two years of lockdowns and border restrictions people are taking advantage of the freedom to travel wherever they can,” said IATA Director General Willie Walsh, adding however that airlines and their passengers at some hub airports are being confronted with a number of issues.

“Flexibility is still essential in support of a successful recovery,” he said, adding that “by capping passenger numbers, airports are preventing airlines from benefitting from the strong demand”.

Photo source: European Commission

A glance at other markets: Middle Eastern airline traffic rose by 246.5 percent in June over June 2021 and capacity by 102.4 percent. North American carriers marked a 168.9 percent increase in traffic and capacity rose by 95.0 percent. June traffic for Latin American airlines rose by 136.6 percent and capacity by 107.4 percent. China’s domestic traffic fell by 45.0 percent year-on-year in June while Japan’s was up by 146.4 percent.

IATA represents some 290 airlines comprising 83 percent of global air traffic.

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