The International Air Transport Association (IATA) found that the air travel sector recovered significantly last April, despite the aftermath of the war in Ukraine and travel restrictions imposed in China, as this recovery is largely attributed to global demand levels for flights.
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Commenting on this issue, Willie Walsh, Director General of the International Air Transport Association, said: “In parallel with the removal of many restrictions placed on movement across borders, we are witnessing a significant increase in travel bookings, as this increase attributed to the strong desire of travelers to offset the travel opportunities they offer. They have been missing them for the past two years and when you look at the April data, they are optimistic in most markets, with the exception of China, which continues. to impose strict travel restrictions ”.
Walsh continued, “The experience of other countries in this regard reflects the possibility of managing increased travel movement through increased population immunity and the use of standard disease surveillance systems, and we hope that China will adopt this successful model.” “soon and gradually. begin to alleviate these strict travel restrictions.”
European airlines recorded in April an increase in international passenger traffic by 480.0% compared to April 2021, and a significant increase compared to that of March 2022, which reached 434.3% compared to the same month of the year 2021, and capacity increased by 233.5% and the load factor increased by 33.7 percentage points to 79.4%.
Airlines in Asia and the Pacific witnessed an increase in international passenger traffic in April by 290.8% compared to April 2021, representing a significant increase in profits recorded in March 2022, reaching 197.2% compared to the same month of 2021 , and capacity increased by 88.6%, the load factor increased by 34.6 percentage points to 66.8%, continuing to be the lowest in all counties.
Middle East airlines recorded an increase of 265.0% of demand in April 2022 compared to the same period of 2021, exceeding the growth recorded in March 2022, which reached 252.7% compared to the same month of 2021. Capacity in March also increased by 101.0%. Compared to the same period a year ago, the load factor increased by 32.2 percentage points to 71.7%.
North American airlines saw in April an improvement of passenger traffic by 230.2% compared to the same period of 2021, which represents a slight increase from the increase recorded in March 2022 by 227.9% compared to the same month of 2021. Capacity also increased by 98.5% and the load factor increased by 31.6 percentage points to 79.3%.
Latin American airlines recorded an increase in passenger traffic by 263.2% in April compared to the same period in 2021, which is an improvement compared to the increase recorded in March 2022 by 241.2% compared to the same month in 2021. Capacity increased in April by 189.1%, The load factor increased by 16.8 percentage points to 82.3%, the highest among the regions for the 19th consecutive month.
Airline passenger traffic in Africa increased by 116.2% in April 2022 compared to a year earlier, surpassing the annual growth recorded in March 2022 of 93.3%. In April 2022, capacity increased by 65.7% and the load factor increased by 15.7 percentage points to reach 67.3%.
And about the local passenger markets
Domestic demand in Australia increased 47.5% compared to April 2021, surpassing the 36.5% increase in passenger traffic recorded in March 2022 thanks to the removal of travel restrictions and improved passenger confidence.
Japan also posted monthly earnings with passenger revenue per kilometer in the domestic market increasing by 57.0% per year, surpassing the growth of 46.5% in March 2022 compared to the same month in 2021.
Total demand recorded in April 2022 was 37.2% lower compared to the same period of 2019, but at the same time was better than the decline of 41.3% in March 2022 compared to March 2019.
Walsh added: “As summer approaches in the northern hemisphere, it is becoming clear that the two-year travel restrictions have not diminished people’s desire to reap the benefits of the freedom of travel, as demand in unrestricted areas is returning rapidly. before the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the other hand, it is clear that the government’s inappropriate measures to manage the pandemic continue to this day, as the change in government policies and methodologies imposed a state of uncertainty, which did not give the aviation sector enough time to resumed activities that were almost completely discontinued for two years. Therefore, it is not surprising that we are witnessing delays in operations in some areas, which requires finding appropriate solutions to increase passenger confidence in flights.
And he added, “Leaders of the global aviation sector will travel in the coming days to the Qatari capital, Doha, to attend the activities of the 78th annual general meeting of the International Air Transport Association and the World Summit of Air Transport, which will be held with direct participation for the first time since 2019. This step sends strong signals to encourage governments to lift the remaining restrictions and conditions imposed on travel movement, in addition to preparing for it. meet the demands of travelers whose high demand for travel air reflects their desire to fully restore their right to travel.
In this report, we return to making comparisons on an annual basis and not comparing the results with those recorded in 2019, unless otherwise indicated. Given the low levels of movement in 2021, some markets may exhibit very high annual growth rates even though their volume is still much smaller than it was in 2019.
Total demand for air travel (measured in passenger mileage revenue) in April 2022 increased by 78.7% compared to the same period last year, slightly more than the annual increase recorded in March 2022, which was 76.0% year on year.
Demand for domestic air travel fell by 1.0% in April 2022 compared to the same period in 2021 and this decline follows a 10.6% increase in demand in March 2022. This decline comes entirely from the continuation of the imposition of strict restrictions on movement of travel to China, Domestic passenger traffic decreased by 80.8% year on year. Overall, total domestic passenger traffic decreased by 25.8% in April 2022 compared to the same period of 2019.
International passenger revenue per kilometer marked an increase of 331.9% compared to April 2021, and an increase of more than 289.9% recorded in March 2022 compared to a year earlier. A group of routes witnessed an increase in demand compared to those recorded in the pre-pandemic Covid-19 period, including air routes between Europe and Central America, between the Middle East and North America, and between North and Central America. International passenger revenue per kilometer decreased by 43.4% in April this year compared to the same period in 2019.