Mideast air traffic jumps 215.3% in February

Globally, total traffic in February 2022 was up 115.9 per cent compared to February 2021. That is an improvement from January 2022, which was up 83.1 per cent compared to January 2021



In the Middle East, passenger capacity rose 89.5 per cent in February versus the year-ago period, and load factor climbed 25.8 percentage points to 64.7 per cent. — AFP file photo
In the Middle East, passenger capacity rose 89.5 per cent in February versus the year-ago period, and load factor climbed 25.8 percentage points to 64.7 per cent. — AFP file photo
by

Issac John

Published: Thu 7 Apr 2022, 3:46 PM

Marking a remarkable rebound, airlines in the Middle East recorded an unprecedented 215.3 per cent jump in passenger traffic in February compared to February 2021, well up compared to the 145 per cent increase in January 2022, versus the same month in 2021, the International Air Transport Association said on Thursday.

Globally, total traffic in February 2022 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was up 115.9 per cent compared to February 2021. That is an improvement from January 2022, which was up 83.1 per cent compared to January 2021. Compared to February 2019, however, traffic was down 45.5 per cent.

Domestic traffic was up 60.7 per cent compared to the year-ago period, building on a 42.6 per cent increase in January 2022 compared to January 2021. There was wide variation in markets tracked by Iata. Domestic traffic in February was 21.8 per cent below the volumes of February 2019.

In the Middle East, capacity rose 89.5 per cent in February versus the year-ago period, and load factor climbed 25.8 percentage points to 64.7 per cent.

In the air cargo segment, Middle Eastern carriers experienced a 5.3 per cent year-on-year decrease in cargo volumes in February. This was the weakest performance of all regions, which was owing to deterioration in traffic on several key routes such as Middle East-Asia, and Middle East-North America.

Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTK), was up 2.9 per cent compared to February 2021 (2.5 per cent for international operations).

“Looking forward, there are signs of improvement as data indicate that the region is likely to benefit from traffic being redirected to avoid flying over Russia. Capacity was up 7.2 per cent compared to February 202,” Iata said.

“The recovery in air travel is gathering steam as governments in many parts of the world lift travel restrictions. States that persist in attempting to lock-out the disease, rather than managing 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,” said Willie Walsh, Iata’s director general.

Several factors benefited air cargo in February compared to January. On the demand side, manufacturing activity ramped-up quickly after the early February Lunar New Year holiday. Capacity was positively influenced by the general and progressive relaxation of Covid-19 travel restrictions, reduced flight cancellations due to Omicron-related factors (outside of Asia), and fewer winter weather operational disruptions, Iata said.

“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. We are already seeing reports of unacceptably long lines at some airports owing to the growing number of travellers. And that is even before the surge of Easter holiday travel in many markets next week. The peak Northern summer travel season will be critical for jobs throughout the travel and tourism value chain. Now is the time to prepare. Governments can help by ensuring that border positions are staffed adequately and that background security checks for new staff are managed as efficiently as possible,” said Walsh.

— issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com


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