IATA: February Air Demand Rebounds After Omicron Dip

As cases of the Covid-19 omicron variant moderated outside of Asia and governments continued to lift travel restrictions, total passenger air traffic in February 2022 increased 115.9 percent year over year, according to the International Air Transport Association.

That growth improved on January’s 83.1 percent year-over-year increase, but still was only at 54.5 percent of February 2019 demand levels. The comparative recovery level also was lower than December’s 55.1 percent level versus 2019. The war in Ukraine started Feb. 24 and did not have a major impact on traffic levels, according to IATA.

“The recovery in air travel is gathering steam as governments in many parts of the world lift travel restrictions,” IATA director general Willie Walsh said in a statement. “States that persist in attempting to lock out the disease rather than manage it, as we do with other diseases, risk missing out on the enormous economic and societal benefits that a restoration of international connectivity will bring.”

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2022-02 IATA

Global capacity was up 68.4 percent year over year, with Europe reporting the biggest regional gain at 136.1 percent compared to February 2021. Still, total capacity was just 37 percent of 2019 levels. Global load factor increased 15.4 percentage points year over year to 69.8 percent. Compared with 2019, load factor was down 10.8 percent.

Total international traffic was up 256.8 percent year over year, with international capacity up 112.4 percent. Europe also led this category with a 380.6 percent passenger increase compared to February 2021, and a 174.8 percent increase in capacity. Total domestic traffic increased 60.7 percent compared to February 2021, with capacity up 39.7 percent. The United States led the domestic regions with a 112.5 percent traffic increase and 60.4 percent gain in capacity year over year.

“As the long-awaited recovery in air travel accelerates, it is important that our infrastructure providers are prepared for a huge increase in passenger numbers in the coming months,” Walsh said. “We are already seeing reports of unacceptably long lines at some airports owing to the growing number of travelers.… Now is the time to prepare. Governments can help by ensuring that border positions are adequately staffed and that background security checks for new staff are managed as efficiently as possible. “

RELATED: IATA: Omicron Restrictions Dinged January Air Recovery

As cases of the Covid-19 omicron variant moderated outside of Asia and governments continued to lift travel restrictions, total passenger air traffic in February 2022 increased 115.9 percent year over year, according to the International Air Transport Association. That growth improved on January’s 83.1 percent year-over-year increase, but still was only at 54.5 percent of…

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