HomeTravel NewsAir Travel Recovery Accelerates Heading into Key Summer Holiday Season, IATA Says

Air Travel Recovery Accelerates Heading into Key Summer Holiday Season, IATA Says

The ongoing recovery of air travel has accelerated coming into the key busy summer travel season, figures from airline industry group the International Air Transport Association (IATA) show.

IATA’s latest monthly data – covering May – shows that total air passenger traffic grew by more than 83% on the same month last year, mainly due to the strong recovery in international traffic.

As a result, global air passenger traffic levels are now at nearly 69% of pre-pandemic crisis levels, IATA said.

IATA said the strong results in most international and domestic markets compared to a year ago is helping global passenger demand catch-up to 2019 levels. May was the best monthly performance against pre-Covid travel so far this year.

“The travel recovery continues to gather momentum. People need to travel. And when governments remove Covid-19 restrictions, they do,” said IATA director general Willie Walsh.

“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 said.

IATA director general Willie Walsh.

The major exception to the optimism of this rebound in travel is China, which saw a dramatic 73.2% fall in domestic travel compared to the previous year. Its continuing 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,Mr Walsh said.

IATA expects to see the travel chaos, which has been widespread as pent-up passenger demand has clashed with under-staffed airports, gradually diminish as solutions are found.

“The recovery in travel markets is no less than impressive,” Mr Walsh said.

“As we accelerate towards the peak summer season in the northern hemisphere, strains in the system are appearing in some European and North American hubs. Nobody wants to see passengers suffering from delays or cancellations. But, passengers can be confident that solutions are being urgently implemented,” he said.

“Airlines, airports and governments are working together. However, standing up the workforce needed to meet growing demand will take time and require patience in the few locations where the bottlenecks are the most severe,” Mr Walsh said.

He added that – in the longer term – governments “must improve their understanding of how aviation operates” and work more closely with airports and airlines.

“Having created so much uncertainty with knee-jerk Covid-19 policy flip-flops and avoiding most opportunities to work in unison based on global standards, their actions did little to enable a smooth ramping-up of activity,” he said.

Geoff Percival
Geoff Percival
Geoff has worked in business, news, consumer and travel journalism for more than 25 years; having worked for and contributed to the likes of The Irish Examiner, Business & Finance, Business Plus, The Sunday Times, The Irish News, Senior Times, and The Sunday Tribune.


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