International travel driving air traffic recovery
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced passenger data for May 2022 showing the recovery accelerated as the busy Northern Hemisphere summer season kicked off.
Total traffic in May 2022 in revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) was up 83.1% compared to May 2021, largely driven by the strong recovery in international traffic.
Global traffic is now at 68.7% of pre-Covid levels.
International traffic increased 325.8% against May 2021.
The easing of travel restrictions in most parts of Asia has accelerating the recovery of international travel.
Overall, May 2022 international RPKs reached 64.1% of May 2019 levels.
“Many major international route areas including within Europe, and the Middle East-North America routes are already exceeding pre-Covid-19 levels,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
“Completely removing all COVID-19 restrictions is the way forward, with Australia being the latest to do so this week.”
The outlier to the rebound in travel is China, which saw a sharp 73.2% fall in domestic travel compared to the previous year.
“China’s ongoing zero-Covid policy is out-of-step with the rest of the world and it shows in the dramatically slower recovery of China-related travel,” Walsh added.
Overall Asia-Pacific capacity rose 118.8% with the load factor up 43.6 percentage points to 72.1%.
European carriers’ May traffic rose 412.3% versus May 2021.
Capacity rose 221.3%, and load factor climbed 30.1 percentage points to 80.6%.
The impact of the war in Ukraine remains limited to the areas directly impacted, IATA said.