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The Director General of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Willie Walsh, predicted that the recovery of passenger traffic would accelerate and that on average the industry could return to pre-pandemic levels in 2023, a year earlier compared to previous expectations. . .
Walsh told Reuters, “Overall passenger traffic is growing at a faster pace than expected, despite the war in Ukraine and persistent restrictions on the Chinese aviation market.
“We are seeing very strong bookings,” he added, noting that high oil prices and travel disruptions caused by labor shortages have not deterred travelers so far, although oil prices have probably caused a 10% increase in flight tickets.
Overall, Walsh believes the industry is heading towards a recovery in passenger traffic to levels that prevailed before the 2023 epidemic broke out, backed by a strong summer expected that year.
But he warned that passenger traffic in some individual seasons next year could remain lower than it was before the epidemic, as the Asia-Pacific region continues to recover due to persistent Covid 19 restrictions in the main market. of Chinese aviation.
For its part, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) unveiled passenger data for March 2022, which showed the continued recovery of air travel, as the impact of the war in Ukraine fell on demand levels, while the effects of the Omicron mutator were mainly limited to Asian domestic markets.
Note: In this report, we return to making comparisons on an annual basis instead of comparing the results with those reported in 2019, unless otherwise indicated. Given the low levels of movement in 2021, some markets may exhibit very high annual growth rates, although the size of these markets is still much smaller than it was in 2019.
Total passenger traffic increased by 76.0% in March 2022 (measured in passenger revenue per kilometer) compared to the same period last year. Demand in March reached the nearest pre-crisis level in 2019 with 41%, but still less than the annual growth of 115.9% recorded in February.
Domestic travel traffic recovered in March 2022 by 11.7% compared to the same period last year, which is much less than the 59.4% improvement recorded in February. This is mainly due to the blocking measures caused by the Omicron mutant in China. Revenues of domestic passengers per kilometer have decreased by 23.2% compared to March 2019.
International passenger revenue per kilometer improved by 285.3% compared to March 2021, surpassing the previous increase of 259.2% in February compared to the same period last year. Most regions marked an improvement in performance compared to last month, supported by the performance of European airlines.
International passenger revenue per kilometer decreased by 51.9% in March 2022, compared to the same month of 2019.
Commenting on the issue, Willie Walsh, Director General of the International Air Transport Association, said: “The declining demand levels are witnessing a long-awaited recovery, with travel restrictions being lifted in most regions, but there are many delays. . in many airports due to lack of sufficient resources.To keep pace with rising demand levels. “This issue needs to be addressed quickly to meet the aspirations of passengers who are eager to fly.”
Walsh said: “The ongoing recovery in air travel opens up great prospects for the global economy and for the millions of people whose businesses are affected by travel restrictions, as well as for family members and friends living in scattered countries. Measures taken by some governments pose a major obstacle to achieving recovery.
This is most prominent in the Netherlands, where regulators at Schiphol Airport allowed him to offset his losses as a result of the “Covid 19” crisis at the expense of airlines and customers, with airport fares rising by 37% over the next three years. The airport administration also asked airlines to cancel new bookings and sales for this week, which was a major concern for passengers, as it claimed there was a shortage of airport staff, including government-provided security seats. . The government also aims to increase passenger taxes by 400m euros a year to reduce travel demand.
The actions of the Dutch government have significant negative impacts, limiting communication, failing to provide essential operational resources for the airport and allowing price manipulation from its main airport. These measures lead to job losses and harm the interests of customers who are suffering today from price inflation, as well as deplete the resources that airlines need to achieve sustainability commitments to achieve carbon neutrality.
And the Dutch government lost an important lesson during the Covid 19 crisis, that the efficiency of air travel is reflected in the quality of life for everyone, so it must reverse these steps because they constitute a bad model. Governments should focus primarily on developing plans that allow them to keep pace with expected demand over the coming summer season, in order to ensure recovery is achieved and reap its economic and social benefits, and not to disappoint expectations. many people who waited two. years for summer vacation due to lack of necessary preparations.
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