The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says air travel in Nigeria and other African countries recorded significant growth in February 2022, despite COVID-19 disruptions.
IATA disclosed this in a report on its website titled, “Passenger Recovery Accelerates in February”.
According to the report, African airlines’ capacity was up 34.7 percent and load factor climbed 12.9 percentage points to 63.0 percent.
IATA is a trade association representing over 230 international and global airlines based in Geneva.
It added that air travel posted a strong rebound in February 2022 compared to January 2022, as Omicron-related impacts moderated outside of Asia.
It noted that the war in Ukraine, which began on February 24, did not have a major impact on traffic levels.
The report said total traffic in February 2022 rose by 115.9 percent compared to the same month last year; adding that domestic traffic also rose by 60.7 percent compared to a year ago, building on a 42.6 percent increase in January 2022 compared to January 2021.
African airlines, according to the report, recorded a 69.5 percent rise in February revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) versus a year ago — representing a huge improvement compared to the 20.5 percent year-over-year increase recorded in January 2022 compared to the same month in 2021.
But globally, RPKs rose 256.8 percent versus February 2021, it said, noting that all regions improved their performance compared to the prior month.
Willie Walsh, director-general, IATA, attributed the recovery in air travel to the lifting of restrictions by governments.
He said states that persist in attempting to lock out the disease, rather than managing it, risk missing out on the enormous economic and societal benefits that restoration of international connectivity will bring.
“As the long-awaited recovery in air travel accelerates, it is important that our infrastructure providers are prepared for a huge increase in passenger numbers in the coming months. We are already seeing reports of unacceptably long lines at some airports owing to the growing number of travellers.
“And that is even before the surge of Easter holiday travel in many markets next week. The peak Northern summer travel season will be critical for jobs throughout the travel and tourism value chain. Now is the time to prepare. Governments can help by ensuring that border positions are staffed adequately and that background security checks for new staff are managed as efficiently as possible.”
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