IATA: Air passenger travel recovers 68.5% of pre-pandemic volumes in 2022

By Luke Barras-hill |

International air passenger traffic reached 62.2% of 2019 levels in 2022, according to the latest data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Year-on-year, international traffic increased 152.7% in RPKs (revenue passenger kilometres), with an 80.2% jump in December versus the same month in 2021.

Overall traffic in 2022 rose 64.4% year-on-year, representing 68.5% of 2019 levels.

In December 2022, international traffic increased 80.2% over December 2021, reaching 75.1% of the levels recorded December 2019.

Asia Pacific recorded a 363.3% surge in full-year international 2022 passenger traffic versus 2021 – the strongest year-on-year growth rate among the regions.

Capacity increased by 129.9% with load factors up 37.3 percentage points to 74%.

Middle Eastern airlines followed with a 157.4% traffic rise in 2022 year-on-year, followed by European carriers at +132.2%, North American carriers at +130.2%, Latin American airlines at +119.2% and African airlines at +89.2%.

Willie Walsh, Director General, IATA said: “The industry left 2022 in far stronger shape than it entered, as most governments lifted Covid-19 travel restrictions during the year and people took advantage of the restoration of their freedom to travel.

The recovery in global air travel persisted in December 2022, with international traffic taking a 62.2% slice of pre-pandemic levels. Source: IATA.

“This momentum is expected to continue in the New Year, despite some governments’ over-reactions to China’s re-opening. Let us hope that 2022 becomes known as the year in which governments locked away forever the regulatory shackles that kept their citizens earthbound for so long.

“It is vital that governments learn the lesson that travel restrictions and border closures have little positive impact in terms of slowing the spread of infectious diseases in our globally inter-connected world. However, they have an enormous negative impact on people’s lives and livelihoods, as well as on the global economy that depends on the unfettered movement of people and goods.”

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