The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which is the global representative body of the airline industry, has reported that air passenger traffic in June this year continued to recover strongly from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. In year-on-year (y-o-y) terms total air passenger traffic in June was up 76.2%. Global air passenger traffic that month reached 70.8% of the pre-pandemic levels.
“Demand for air travel remains strong,” highlighted IATA director-general Willie Walsh. “After two years of lockdowns and border restrictions people are taking advantage of the freedom to travel wherever they can.”
International air passenger traffic in June rocketed 229.5%, y-o-y. The ending of travel restrictions in most Asian-Pacific countries was a major contributor to this upsurge. International air passenger traffic reached 65% of its level in June 2019 (that is, pre-pandemic).
Domestic air passenger traffic, which in many places resumed before international traffic did, was up 5.2% y-o-y. Most markets reported strong improvements and China eased some of its Covid-19 Omicron variant lockdown restrictions. Domestic traffic reached 81.4% of its June 2019 level.
The region which saw the biggest y-o-y increase in total air passenger traffic was the Middle East, at 216.8%. In second place was Europe, at 155.1%, followed by Africa at 97.1%, Latin America at 74%, North America at 39.2% and finally the Asia-Pacific, at 33.7%.
In terms of international air passenger traffic, however, the region that recorded the greatest y-o-y increase, by far, was the Asia-Pacific, at 492%. This was followed by the Middle East (246.5%), Europe (234.4%), North America (168.9%), Latin America (136.6%) and lastly Africa (103.6%).
Regarding the world’s biggest domestic markets, India reported by far the most dramatic y-o-y improvement in June, at 264.4%. Second was Japan at 146.4%, then Australia at 78.6%, Brazil at 37.6% and the US at 8.7%. China recorded a y-o-y contraction of 45%, owing to Omicron-inspired travel restrictions but, even so, this was an improvement on its y-o-y performance in May, as Beijing relaxed some of these restrictions.
“With the Northern Hemisphere summer travel season now fully underway, predictions that the lifting of travel restrictions would unleash a torrent of pent-up travel demand are being borne out,” he pointed out. “At the same time, meeting that demand has proved challenging and likely will continue to be so. … Just look at the issues that airlines and their passengers at some hub airports are being confronted with. These airports are unable to support their declared capacity even with the current 64% slot threshold and have extended recent passenger caps until the end of October. Flexibility is still essential in support of a successful recovery.”