IATA reports strong recovery in international air traffic


Total demand in April 2022 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers, or RPKs) increased 78.7% compared to April 2021 and slightly above the 76.0% year-over-year increase in March 2022

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that air travel resumed its strong recovery trend in April, despite the war in Ukraine and travel restrictions in China. This was mainly driven by international demand.

Note: IATA has reverted to year-over-year traffic comparisons, rather than comparisons to the 2019 period, unless otherwise noted. Due to the low traffic base in 2021, some markets will show very high year-over-year growth rates, even if the size of these markets remains significantly smaller than in 2019.

Total air travel demand in April 2022 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers, or RPKs) increased 78.7% compared to April 2021 and slightly above the 76.0% year-over-year increase in March 2022.

April domestic air travel fell 1.0% compared to the same period a year earlier, a reversal of the 10.6% increase in demand in March. This was entirely due to continued stringent travel restrictions in China, where domestic traffic was down 80.8% year-on-year. Overall, April domestic traffic was down 25.8% compared to April 2019.

International RPKs increased 331.9% compared to April 2021, an acceleration over the 289.9% increase in March 2022 compared to a year ago. Several route areas are actually above pre-pandemic levels, including Europe: Central America, Middle East: North America, and North America: Central America. International RPKs for April 2022 were down 43.4% compared to the same month in 2019.

“With many border restrictions lifting, we are seeing the expected surge in bookings as people look to make up for two years of lost travel opportunities. April’s data is cause for optimism in almost all markets except China, which continues to severely restrict travel. The experience of the rest of the world is showing that the increase in travel is manageable with high levels of population immunity and normal disease surveillance systems. We hope that China can recognize this success soon and take its own steps towards normalcy,” said Willie Walsh, IATA Director General.

International Passenger Markets

International traffic for European carriers in April increased by 480.0% compared to April 2021, substantially above the 434.3% increase in March 2022 compared to the same month in 2021. Capacity increased by 233 .5% and load factor rose 33.7 percentage points to 79.4%.

Asia-Pacific airlines experienced an increase in April international traffic of 290.8% compared to April 2021, a significant improvement from the 197.2% increase recorded in March 2022 compared to March 2021. capacity increased 88.6% and load factor increased 34.6 percentage points to 66.8%, the lowest among regions.

Middle Eastern airlines saw a 265.0% increase in demand in April compared to April 2021, outpacing the 252.7% increase in March 2022, compared to the same month in 2021. April increased by 101.0% compared to the same period of the previous year and the load factor increased by 32.2% points to 71.7%.

North American carriers’ April traffic increased 230.2% compared to the 2021 period, slightly above the 227.9% increase in March 2022 compared to March 2021. Capacity increased 98.5 % and load factor rose 31.6 percentage points to 79.3%.

Latin American airlines saw a 263.2% increase in April traffic, compared to the same month in 2021, surpassing March 2022’s 241.2% increase over March 2021. April capacity increased 189, 1% and load factor rose 16.8 percentage points to 82.3%, which was easily the highest load factor among regions for the 19th consecutive month.

African airlines traffic increased by 116.2% in April 2022 compared to the previous year, an acceleration from the 93.3% year-on-year increase recorded in March 2022. April 2022 capacity increased by 65 .7% and load factor rose 15.7 percentage points to 67.3%.

Australia’s domestic demand increased by 47.5% compared to April 2021, an improvement over the 36.5% increase in traffic in March, due to the lifting of travel restrictions and increased consumer confidence. consumer.

Japan also saw monthly gains, with domestic RPKs up 57.0% year-over-year, up from a 46.5% increase in March 2022 compared to March 2021.

2022 vs. 2019

April total passenger demand decreased 37.2% compared to the same month in 2019, which is an improvement compared to March 2022’s 41.3% decrease compared to March 2019.

The bottom line

“With the northern summer travel season now upon us, two things are clear: two years of border restrictions have not weakened the desire for freedom to travel. Where permitted, demand is rapidly returning to pre-COVID levels. However, it is also clear that flaws in the way governments handled the pandemic have continued throughout the recovery. With governments making U-turns and policy changes, there was uncertainty until the last minute, leaving little time to restart an industry that had been dormant for two years. It is not surprising that we are seeing operational delays in some places. In the few places where these problems are recurrent, solutions need to be found so that passengers can travel with confidence.

“In less than two weeks, leaders from the global aviation community will gather in Doha for IATA’s 78th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit. This year’s AGM will be held as a fully in-person event for the first time since 2019. It should send a strong signal that it is time for governments to lift remaining restrictions and requirements and prepare for an enthusiastic response from consumers who they are voting with their feet for a full restoration of their right to travel,” Walsh said.