Airlines in the Middle East say a massive 265 percent increase in demand in the month of April, compared to the corresponding period in 2021. This was a jump from the 252.7 percent increase reported in March this year compared to the same month in 2021.
Capacity in April rose by 101 percent against the previous year’s period, and the load factor climbed a phenomenal 32.2 percent to 71.7 percent, according to a report from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Despite the Russian war in Ukraine and travel restrictions in China, IATA also announced that air travel had resumed a strong recovery trend in April, primarily driven by international demand.
Compared to April 2021, the total demand for air travel (revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) increased by 78.7 percent compared to the same period in 2021, which was higher than the recorded rate in March 2022 of 76 percent growth, according to a report by IATA.
Domestic air travel in April fell by 1 percent compared to the same period last year, which was in contrast to the 10.6 percent rise in demand in March. The fall in RPKs was mainly due to the travel restrictions in China, where air travel dropped by 80.8 percent compared to the previous year. In totality, domestic travel in April had fallen by 25.8 percent compared to the same period in 2019.
Compared to April 2021, international RPKs rose a stupendous 331.9 percent compared to the same month in 2021, and higher than the rise of 289 percent recorded in March 2022. Interestingly, traffic on several routes, including Europe – Central America, Middle East – North America, and North America – Central America were higher than pre-pandemic levels.
Director-General of IATA, International Passenger Markets, Willie Walsh, said that due to the lifting of travel restrictions from many countries, there has been a much-awaited surge in bookings as travelers aim to make up for lost travel opportunities. He further added that April data was a cause for optimism in all markets except China, which continues with strict travel restrictions.
Walsh also said that increased travel volumes are possible due to a high level of population immunity and existing systems for disease surveillance.
International airlines passenger market trends according to IATA
April international traffic for European carriers rose by 480 percent compared to April 2021, while capacity rose by 233.5 percent and load factor also rose by 79.4 percent compared to the corresponding period in 2021.
Airlines in the Asia-Pacific region saw international traffic in April rise 290.8 percent compared to the same period in 2021, which was a substantial gain from 197.2 percent recorded in March 2022. While still the lowest amongst regions, capacity rose by 88.6 percent and the load factor increased by 66.8 percent according to data.
North American airlines saw traffic increase by 230.2 percent compared to 2021, which was higher than the 227.9 percent rise recorded in March this year. In a positive sign, capacity rose by 98.5 percent and load factor increased to 79.3 percent.
Airlines from the LatAm region saw a huge increase of 263.2 percent in April traffic, which exceeded the rise of 241.2 percent rise in March this year, compared to the same period in 2021. Capacity in April increased by 189.1 percent and the load factor gained by 82.3 percent, making it the highest load factor amongst regions for 19 months consecutively.
Traffic from African airlines rose by 116.2 percent in April this year, compared to the corresponding period in 2021. This was a giant leap from the 93.3 percent increase recorded in March this year. According to the IATA report, capacity was up by 65.7 percent, and the load factor climbed to 67.3 percent.
The IATA report also said that air traffic was up in all regions except from China.