International air traffic expected to surpass pre-Covid levels in 2024

The total number of air passengers in the world will reach the four-billion mark in 2024, exceeding the 2019 pre-Covid level by 3%, global airlines body IATA said on Wednesday, March 2.

In 2021, overall traveller numbers were 47% of the pre-COVID level, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) mentioned. “This is expected to improve to 83% in 2022, 94% in 2023, 103% in 2024 and 111% in 2025,” it added.

International air travel expected to surpass pre-Covid levels in 2024

Meanwhile, international passenger traffic figures reached just 27% of 2019 levels. This is expected to improve to 69% in 2022, 82% in 2023, 92% in 2024, and 101% in 2025. 

Asia-Pacific international traffic is expected to fully recover in 2025, reaching 68% of pre-COVID levels in 2022 due to the slow removal of travel restrictions, IATA predicted.  

“People want to travel. And when travel restrictions are lifted, they return to the skies. There is still a long way to go to reach a normal state of affairs, but the forecast for the evolution in passenger numbers gives good reason to be optimistic.”

Willie Walsh, Director General, In 2021, International Air Transport Association (IATA)

IATA’s Director General Willie Walsh said the trajectory for the recovery in passenger numbers from COVID-19 was not changed by the Omicron variant.

IATA represents some 290 airlines comprising 83% of global air traffic.

In 2021, overall traveller numbers were 47% of the pre-COVID level

Iata’s forecast does not calculate the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. In general, air transport is resilient against shocks and this conflict is unlikely to impact the long-term growth of air transport.

It is too early to estimate what the near-term consequences will be for aviation, but it is clear that there are downside risks, in particular in markets with exposure to the conflict.

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