The impact of the conflict in Ukraine on air travel demand was quite limited overall while Omicron-related effects continued to be confined largely to Asian domestic markets.
- Total traffic in March 2022, measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs), was up 76 per cent compared to March 2021. Although that was lower than the 115.9-per-cent rise in demand in February year-over-year, volumes in March were the closest to 2019 pre-pandemic levels, at 41 per cent below
- March 2022 domestic traffic was up 11.7 per cent compared to the year-ago period, far below the 59.4-per-cent year-over-year improvement recorded in February. This was largely a result of the Omicron-related lockdowns in China. March domestic RPKs were down 23.2 per cent versus March 2019
- International RPKs rose 285.3 per cent versus March 2021, exceeding the 259.2-per-cent gain experienced in February versus the year-earlier period. Most regions boosted their performance compared to the prior month, led by carriers in Europe. March 2022 international RPKs were down 51.9 per cent compared to the same month in 2019.
Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General, commented: “With barriers to travel coming down in most places, we are seeing the long-expected surge in pent-up demand finally being realised. Unfortunately, we are also seeing long delays at many airports with insufficient resources to handle the growing numbers. This must be addressed urgently to avoid frustrating consumer enthusiasm for air travel.”