Global Air Travel Demand Surges by 22% in February, Reports IATA

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According to the latest report from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the global demand for air travel witnessed a significant surge of 21.5% in February, marking a substantial increase from 16.6% recorded in January.

The report highlights a notable rise in capacity, measured by available seat kilometers, which grew by 18.7% compared to the same period last year. Additionally, the load factor for February soared to 80.6%, indicating a remarkable increase of 1.9 percentage points compared to the previous year.

International travel demand exhibited robust growth, with a 26.3% increase compared to February 2023. This surge was accompanied by a corresponding rise in capacity, up by 25.5% year-on-year, resulting in an improved load factor of 79.3%.

Willie Walsh, the Director-General of IATA, expressed optimism about the industry’s prospects for 2024, citing accelerated investments in decarbonization and resilient passenger demand amidst geopolitical and economic uncertainties. However, Walsh cautioned against potential challenges posed by new taxes, particularly in Europe, which could hinder the industry’s positive trajectory and increase travel costs.

Despite challenges such as currency devaluation and soaring aviation fuel prices in Nigeria, the aviation sector continues to attract passengers, albeit with increased ticket fares. Susan Akporiaye, President of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies, acknowledged the industry’s resilience and sustained high traffic levels amidst these challenges.

Globally, the aviation industry is still recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministry of Aviation reported significant monthly losses of about N21 billion during the COVID-19 lockdown. Analysts anticipate a gradual recovery, projecting that the industry may fully return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024.

The surge in air travel demand underscores the industry’s resilience and adaptability amidst evolving challenges, offering a glimmer of hope for sustained recovery and growth in the aviation sector worldwide.

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