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A new study found that passenger numbers grew in March, indicating that air travel around the world continues to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and related travel restrictions.
Data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) showed total traffic measured in revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) climbed 76 percent compared to March 2021, but was still down around 41 percent from the 2019 pre-pandemic levels.
Worldwide domestic travel in March was up 11.7 percent compared to the same period last year, but down considerably from the 60.7 percent year-over-year improvement recorded in February.
International RPKs rose 285.3 percent compared to March 2021, exceeding the 259.2 percent year-over-year increase experienced in February. March international RPKs were down 51.9 percent compared to the same month in 2019.
"With barriers to travel coming down in most places, we are seeing the long-expected surge in pent-up demand finally being realized," IATA Director General Willie Walsh said. "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."
North American carriers experienced a 227.8 percent traffic rise in March compared to the previous year, which was slightly down from the 237.3 percent rise in February. Capacity rose 91.9 percent and load factor climbed 31.2 points to 75.4 percent.
Total RPKs in March were down 41.3 percent compared to March 2019, an improvement compared to the 45.5 percent decline recorded in February versus the same month in 2019. The domestic recovery continues to outpace that of international markets.
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Donald Wood is TravelPulse’s senior writer in the breaking news department, bringing nearly 15 years of experience to the desk....
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