Global, Mideast air traffic rebounds

Passenger data shows that Middle Eastern carriers recorded a 193.1 per cent jump in revenue passenger kilometers in July compared to July 2021 while globally the traffic growth was 58.8 per cent y-o-y or at 74.6 per cent of pre-crisis levels



All major airlines in the UAE recorded a remarkable surge in passenger traffic y-o-y in July while Emirates retained its rank as among the top global carriers by carrying more than 19 million passengers in 2021. — File photo
All major airlines in the UAE recorded a remarkable surge in passenger traffic y-o-y in July while Emirates retained its rank as among the top global carriers by carrying more than 19 million passengers in 2021. — File photo
by

Issac John

Published: Wed 7 Sep 2022, 6:13 PM

Global and regional airline passenger traffic recorded a major rebound in July year-on-year as unprecedented pent-up travel demand drove people to take advantage of their restored freedom to fly while cargo demand continued to track below last year’s level.

Passenger data released by International Air Transport Association (Iata) on Wednesday shows that Middle Eastern carriers recorded a 193.1 per cent jump in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs in July compared to July 2021 while globally the traffic growth was 58.8 per cent y-o-y or at 74.6 per cent of pre-crisis levels.

All major airlines in the UAE recorded a remarkable surge in passenger traffic y-o-y in July while Emirates retained its rank as among the top global carriers by carrying more than 19 million passengers in 2021.

In the Middle East, July passenger capacity rose 84.1 per cent versus the year-ago period, and load factor climbed 30.5 percentage points to 82 per cent.

Domestic traffic for July 2022 was up 4.1 per cent compared to the year-ago period and is now driving the recovery. Total July 2022 domestic traffic was at 86.9 per cent of the July 2019 level. China saw a strong month-to-month improvement compared to June.

International traffic rose 150.6 per cent versus July 2021. July 2022 international RPKs reached 67.9 per cent of July 2019 levels. All markets reported strong growth, led by Asia-Pacific, Iata said.

“July’s performance continued to be strong, with some markets approaching pre-Covid levels. And that is even with capacity constraints in parts of the world that were unprepared for the speed at which people returned to travel. There is still more ground to recover, but this is an excellent sign as we head into the traditionally slower autumn and winter quarters in the Northern Hemisphere,” said Willie Walsh, Iata’s director general.

The Iata chief said aviation continues to recover as people take advantage of their restored freedom to travel.

“The pandemic showed that aviation is not a luxury but a necessity in our globalized and interconnected world. Aviation is committed to continuing to meet the demands of people and commerce and to do it sustainably.”

While global air cargo markets data shows that demand continued to track at near pre-pandemic levels in July (-3.5 per cent), but below July 2021 performance (-9.7 per cent), Middle Eastern carriers experienced a 10.9 per cent y-o-y decrease in cargo volumes in July 2022.

The war in Ukraine continues to impair cargo capacity used to serve Europe as several airlines based in Russia and Ukraine were key cargo players.

“Significant benefits from traffic being redirected to avoid flying over Russia failed to materialise and stagnant cargo volumes to/from Europe impacted the Middle East region’s performance. Capacity was up 4.9 per cent compared to July 2021,” Iata said.

However, global goods trade continued to recover in Q2 and the additional easing of Covid-19 restrictions in China will further boost recovery in the coming months. While maritime will be the main beneficiary, air cargo is set to receive a boost, Iata said.

“Air cargo is tracking at near 2019 levels although it has taken a step back compared to the extraordinary performance of 2020-2021. Volatility resulting from supply chain constraints and evolving economic conditions has seen cargo markets essentially move sideways since April,” said Walsh.

— issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com


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