Business Traveller (Middle East)

Global air passenger numbers to recover in 2024 says IATA


THE INTERNATIO­NAL AIR TRANSPORT ASSOCIATIO­N (IATA) expects passenger numbers to reach four billion in 2024, exceeding pre-COVID levels.

The recent update to the associatio­n’s long-term forecast revealed traveller numbers in 2021 were 47 per cent of 2019 levels. This is expected to improve to 83 per cent this year, followed by 93 per cent in 2023, 103 per cent in 2024 and 111 per cent in 2025.

Internatio­nal traveller numbers were 27 per cent of 2019 levels in 2021. This is expected to improve to 69 per cent this year, 82 per cent in 2023, 92 per cent in 2024 and 101 per cent in 2025.

“The trajectory for the recovery in passenger numbers from COVID-19 was not changed by the Omicron variant. People want to travel. And when travel restrictio­ns are lifted, they return to the skies,” said IATA Director General Willie Walsh.

“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.”

The Middle East will see a slower recovery than the global average, said

IATA, with numbers forecast to reach 81 per cent of 2019 levels this year,

98 per cent in 2024 and 105 per cent in 2025.

IATA continues to urge government­s to remove all travel bans and ease restrictio­ns, including the removal of quarantine and testing for fully vaccinated travellers and the introducti­on of pre-departure antigen testing for quarantine­free travel for non-vaccinated travellers.

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