IATA’S May Passenger Figures Indicate Accelerated Recovery of Air Traffic


In the group’s latest passenger report, the numbers explain the increased surge in passenger traffic this year, and where airlines are feeling the pressure.

Total Traffic Increased Over 83%

The association observes that the increased figures come just ahead of the peak summer travel season in the Northern Hemisphere. IATA released its full figures for May here with a caveat, explaining that – unless explicitly stated – it has returned to offering year-on-year comparisons for air traffic rather than a straight comparison with 2019. The association also added that, due to the exceptionally low rate of overall air traffic in 2021, some sectors may appear to have exceptionally high yearly rates of growth, even if that particular market has actually shrunk from 2019 levels.


According to these latest figures, total traffic increased by 83.1% from May 2021 to May 2022. IATA uses revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) as a metric for air traffic figures and the association’s data reveals that the numbers for May 2022 are at 68.7% of pre-pandemic levels. In terms of international traffic, IATA’s figures reveal a 325.8% increase from May 2021 to May 2022, with RPKs in this category achieving 64.1% of May 2019 figures. IATA’s figures for domestic travel traffic offer up a slightly different picture, with this sector achieving a 0.2% increase from May 2021 to May 2022. While there were improvements across the domestic sector as a whole, on-going COVID-19 restrictions in China saw a year-on-year decline of 73.2% in the nation’s domestic travel traffic. However, IATA’s figures show that, from May 2021 to May 2022, domestic traffic reached 76.7% of May 2019 levels.


When it comes to international and domestic travel markets, IATA’s figures reveal year-on-year increases in traffic, capacity and load factors from airlines and carriers in Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, North America and Latin America. Given the impact of COVID-19 restrictions in China, IATA’s year-on-year picture for domestic travel is slightly more mixed, but Australia, Brazil, India, Japan and the United States all saw an increase in RPKs. Contrasting 2022 with 2019, IATA notes that passenger demand is now closing in on 2019 levels. It also observed that total RPKs for May 2022 have achieved 68.7 percent of May 2019 levels.


Commenting on May’s passenger data, Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general, said, “The travel recovery continues to gather momentum. People need to travel. And when governments remove COVID-19 restrictions, they do.” However, he added, “In the longer term, governments must improve their understanding of how aviation operates and work more closely with airports and airlines…Aviation has delivered its best when governments and industry work together to agree and implement global standards. That axiom is as true post-COVID-19 as it was in the century before.”

Source: frugal travel guy

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