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In brief

  L      2022 

March 2022 IATA Air Passenger Market Analysis 
Published May 4, 2022. IATA Economic Reports.

Positive trend in air travel 


  • Industry-wide revenue passenger-kilometers (RPKs) increased by 76% year-on-year (YoY) in March and were the closest to 2019 levels since the pandemic began, 41% below 2019 levels. Seasonally adjusted RPKs also continued to expand, rising 2.8% in March compared with February.
  • Impacts from the conflict in Ukraine on air travel demand continue to be very limited overall, and even travel within Europe or between Asia and Europe remains robust.
  • By contrast, the spread of Omicron in China has impacted domestic air travel, with volumes down 59.1% in March YoY. Fortunately, the impact has not spread to international RPKs for Asia Pacific carriers. And overall, Omicron is becoming less of a strain on societies outside of Asia, allowing the rebound in air travel demand to continue.

African airlines’ passenger load factor rose by 14.1% in March
Airlines based in Africa experienced a 91.8% YoY growth rate in their international RPKs in March. Together with Asia, Africa international RPKs lag more than the other regions in terms of recovery to prepandemic levels, currently 49.1% below March 2019. Air travel demand is challenged by low vaccination rates on the continent as well as impacts from rising inflation.

Demand conditions for air passenger travel remain supportive overall, mostly from the fact that Omicron has become less of a burden on societies outside of Asia. The conflict in Ukraine has not had a major impact on March traffic data. 

   In March 2022, industry-wide revenue passengerkilometers (RPKs) grew by 76% YoY. Although this is lower than the strong 115.9% rise in February YoY, volumes are now the closest to 2019 pre-pandemic levels, at 41% below. The improvement is confirmed by seasonally adjusted (SA) RPKs with expansion in March of 2.8% month-on-month (MoM). It seems the disruption from Omicron (outside of Asia) was brief and the global air travel recovery continues.

Domestic air travel was strong in several large markets, except China

There was an overall improvement in domestic RPKs globally, but volumes were up only 11.7% YoY, far weaker than 59.4% YoY in February. This is a result of the second largest domestic market, China, seeing a sharp decline with RPKs falling 59.1% YoY, and 37.8% MoM. Air travel has been impacted by lockdowns and travel restrictions following the spread of Omicron in the country...Download the full report.