African airlines are slowly recovering from  the devastating effects of  the -Covid 19 pandemic with a134.9% rise in Revenue Passenger Kilometres (RPKs) flown compared to the same period last  year.

The latest figures have been released by the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) based on their – latest analysis of demand for passenger air travel worldwide and by region.  It is based on traffic data collected during May 2022.

RPKs is the standard measure of actual passenger traffic used in the air transport industry.

In May 2022, Africa accounted for 1.9 percent of the total world passenger air travel market.

“The travel recovery continues to gather momentum. People need to travel. And when governments remove COVID-19 restrictions, they do. Many major international route areas – including within Europe, and the Middle East-North America routes – are already exceeding pre-COVID-19 levels.

Completely removing all COVID-19 restrictions is the way forward, with Australia being the latest to do so this week. The major exception to the optimism of this rebound in travel is China, which saw a dramatic 73.2% fall in domestic travel compared to the previous year. Its continuing zero-COVID policy is out-of-step with the rest of the world and it shows in the dramatically slower recovery of China-related travel,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General. 

Total traffic in May 2022 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was up 83.1% compared to May 2021, largely driven by the strong recovery in international traffic. Global traffic is now at 68.7% of pre-crisis levels. 

  Domestic traffic for May 2022 was up 0.2% compared to the year-ago period.  Significant improvements in many markets were masked by a 73.2% year-on-year decline in the Chinese domestic market due to COVID-19 related restrictions. May 2022 domestic traffic was 76.7% of May 2019.

  International traffic rose 325.8% versus May 2021. The easing of travel restrictions in most parts of Asia is accelerating the recovery of international travel. May 2022 international RPKs reached 64.1% of May 2019 levels.

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