[Travel News] Air Traffic Recovered Almost 70% In May 2022

According to the data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has been making great recovery at a rate in May 83.1% higher than in 2021.

According to an IATA news release, the primary reason as to why the rate has been so impressive was because of the fast recovery from the international traffic. On the other hand, domestic traffic,which represents tourists rate within a country, increased a measly 0.2%.

Moreover, the domestic traffic has bounced back to 76.7% of May 2019 levels, whereas international traffic more than tripled the 2021 season (325.8%), recovering up to 64.1% percent of May 2019’s international traffic levels.

Explaining the quick recovery, Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director-General, attributed it to the need for travelling among people, which translates into increased air travel as soon as governments started dropping border measures.

He also stated: “Many major international route areas – including within Europe and the Middle East-North America routes – are already exceeding pre-COVID-19 levels. Completely removing all COVID-19 restrictions is the way forward, with Australia being the latest to do so this week.”

He also outlined China as the only country whose air sector isn’t witnessing a positive recovery. China’s domestic travel has experienced a dramatic fall, 73.2% from last year’s level. Mr. Walsh attributed this to the fact that China’s COVID-policy has been different to the rest of the world’s

According to the press release: “The strong results in most international and domestic markets compared to a year ago is helping passenger demand catch up to 2019 levels. Total RPKs in May 2022 reached 68.7 percent of May 2019 levels, which was the best performance against pre-COVID-19 travel so far this year.” 

Looking ahead, Mr. Walsh stressed the importance of governments cooperating more thoroughly with air sectors: “In the longer term, governments must improve their understanding of how aviation operates and work more closely with airports and airlines.” He criticised governments for changing the policy too radically, which did little to help the recovery of the aviation industry. He stressed that only when the government and the aviation industry joined hands that we saw the most promising recovery: “Aviation has delivered its best when governments and industry work together to agree and implement global standards.”

Following are the market shares for total passenger traffic in 2021, broken down by region and measured in revenue passenger kilometres, or RPKs:

  • North America (32.7%)
  • Asia-Pacific (27.6%)
  • Europe (24.9%)
  • Middle East (6.5%)
  • Latin America (6.5%)
  • Africa (1.9%)

On a related note, The Airports Council International Europe (ACI EUROPE) previously reported that the European travel sector has been seeing an unbalanced and troublesome recovery. More specifically, the reports said that 2022’s air connectivity is still at 29% lower than pre pandemic levels in 2019 and only equals to the Great Recession’s levels in 2009.

Khoa Pham


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