Global air travel rebounds to 74% of pre-pandemic levels

Passenger traffic reached 74% of pre-pandemic levels in September as people rushed back to travel following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has shown.

The Asia Pacific, which was slower than other regions to lift border restrictions, recorded by far the biggest jump in travel, with passenger traffic soaring 465% compared with last year.

Middle Eastern airlines recorded the next biggest rise in passenger traffic, up 150%, followed by North American and Latin American airlines, which saw traffic rise 129% and 99%, respectively.

African airlines’ traffic climbed 91%, while European carriers saw traffic rise 78%.

“The outlier is still China with its pursuit of a zero-COVID strategy keeping borders largely closed and creating a demand roller coaster ride for its domestic market, with September being down 46.4% on the previous year,” IATA Director General Willie Walsh said.