By Ahmed Ayanfe
Despite the war in Ukraine and travel restrictions in China, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) says air travel in Africa including Nigeria has resumed its strong recovery trend.
The global trade body representing over 290 international airlines across 120 countries said the growth was driven primarily by international demand.
African airlines’ traffic rose 116.2 per cent in April 2022 versus a year ago, an acceleration over the 93.3 per cent year-over-year increase recorded in March 2022. April 2022 capacity was up by 65.7 per cent and load factor climbed 15.7 percentage points to 67.3 per cent.
The statement read in part, “International RPKs rose 331.9 per cent versus April 2021, an acceleration over the 289.9 per cent rise in March 2022 compared to a year ago. Several route areas are actually above pre-pandemic levels, including Europe – Central America, Middle East – North America and North America – Central America. April 2022 international RPKs were down 43.4 per cent compared to the same month in 2019.”
IATA’s Director-General, Willie Walsh, was quoted as saying, “With the lifting of many border restrictions, we are seeing the long-expected surge in bookings as people seek to make up for two years of lost travel opportunities. April data is cause for optimism in almost all markets, except China, which continues to severely restrict travel.
“The experience of the rest of the world is demonstrating that increased travel is manageable with high levels of population immunity and the normal systems for disease surveillance. We hope that China can recognize this success soon and take its own steps towards normality.”