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Air Travel Continues Recovery Trend in July, Some Markets Approach pre-COVID Levels

The recovery in air travel continued its strong performance in July, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Wednesday.

According to passenger data for July released by IATA, total traffic that month (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was up 58.8 percent compared to July 2021.

Speaking during a press briefing, IATA Director General Willie Walsh commented that some markets even approached pre-COVID levels in July.

“And that is even with capacity constraints in parts of the world that were unprepared for the speed at which people returned to travel,” Walsh said.

Globally, traffic is now at 74.6 percent of pre-crisis levels, IATA’s data showed.

“There is still more ground to recover, but this is an excellent sign as we head into the traditionally slower autumn and winter quarters in the Northern Hemisphere,” Walsh said.

IATA Director General Willie Walsh. Photo source: IATA

IATA Director General Willie Walsh. Photo source: IATA

More into July’s data, domestic traffic that month was up 4.1 percent compared to the year-ago period and is now driving the recovery. Total July 2022 domestic traffic was at 86.9 percent of the July 2019 level.

International traffic rose 150.6 percent versus July 2021 with all markets reporting strong growth, led by Asia-Pacific. July 2022 international RPKs reached 67.9 percent of July 2019 levels.

Asia-Pacific airlines posted a 528.8 percent rise in July traffic compared to July 2021, the strongest year-over-year rate among the regions. Capacity rose 159.9 percent and the load factor was up 47.1 percentage points to 80.2 percent.

European carriers saw July traffic rise 115.6 percent versus July 2021. Capacity rose 64.3 percent, and load factor climbed 20.6 percentage points to 86.7 percent, second highest among the regions.

“Aviation continues to recover as people take advantage of their restored freedom to travel. The pandemic showed that aviation is not a luxury but a necessity in our globalized and interconnected world,” Walsh said.

Photo source:

Photo source:

A glance at other markets: Middle Eastern airline traffic climbed 193.1 percent in July compared to the same month in 2021 and capacity by 84.1 percent. North American carriers had a 129.2 percent traffic rise in July versus the 2021 period and capacity rose 79.9 percent. Latin American airlines’ July traffic rose 119.4 percent compared to the same month in 2021 and capacity was up by 92.3 percent. African airlines saw an 84.8 percent rise in July RPKs versus a year ago and capacity was up 46.7 percent.

“Aviation is committed to continuing to meet the demands of people and commerce and to do it sustainably,” Walsh said, adding that the sector has set a goal to achieve net zero CO2 emissions by 2050, which is in line with the targets of the Paris Agreement.

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