The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that the recovery in air travel slowed for both domestic and international in January 2022 compared to December 2021, owing to the imposition of travel restrictions following the emergence of Omicron last November.
Note: IATA are returning to year-on-year traffic comparisons, instead of comparisons with the 2019 period, unless otherwise noted. Owing to the low traffic base in 2021, some markets will show very high year-on-year growth rates, even if the size of these markets is still significantly smaller than they were in 2019.
- Total demand for air travel in January 2022 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was up 82.3% compared to January 2021. However, it was down 4.9% compared to the previous month (December 2021) on a seasonally adjusted basis.
- January domestic air travel was up 41.5% compared to the year-ago period but fell 7.2% compared to December 2021 on a seasonally adjusted basis.
- International RPKs rose 165.6% versus January 2021 but fell by 2.2% month-on-month between December 2021 and January 2022 on a seasonally adjusted basis.
“The recovery in air travel continued in January, despite hitting a speed bump called Omicron,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
“Strengthened border controls did not stop the spread of the variant.
“But where population immunity was strong, the public health systems were not overwhelmed.
“Many governments are now adjusting COVID-19 polices to align with those for other endemic viruses.
“This includes lifting travel restrictions that have had such a devastating impact on lives, economies and the freedom to travel”.