Global air travel more than double year-on-year in February

Global air travel more than doubled in February compared to the same month of last year, reiterating recovery gathering steam with the lift of coronavirus related restrictions, a top trade group said on Wednesday.

Measured in revenue passenger kilometers, total air traffic boomed 115.9% year-on-year in February, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said in a statement.

This indicated an acceleration compared to January's annual rise of 83.1%. However, traffic was 45.5% lower compared to the pre-virus period in February 2019.

"States that persist in attempting to lock out the disease, rather than managing it, as we do with other diseases, risk missing out on the enormous economic and societal benefits that a restoration of international connectivity will bring,” IATA head Willie Walsh said.

The war in Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24, did not have a major impact on traffic levels, IATA stressed.

Meanwhile, demand for air cargo rose 2.9% on a yearly basis in February despite a challenging operating backdrop.

The annual increase was driven by quick ramp-up in manufacturing activity after the early February Lunar New Year holiday, relaxation of COVID-19 travel restrictions, reduced flight cancellations due to the omicron variant of coronavirus, and fewer winter weather operational disruptions.

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