International air travel may return to pre-pandemic levels by 2023

International air travel may return to pre-pandemic levels by 2023

access_time2022-05-18 09:30:37

International air travel is likely to return to pre-pandemic levels sooner than expected, with most of Asia opening up quickly and international passenger numbers rebounding to 42 per cent of 2019 levels in the first quarter of this year.

Director-general of the International Air Transport Association (Iata) Willie Walsh said on Monday (May 16) that the industry might even hit 2019 levels by 2023, sooner than its previous forecast of 2024.

He said international travel has nearly doubled from the 24.5 per cent last year, and that figures in the first four to five months of this year have exceeded predictions - including by airlines - and are set to keep growing.

This is despite China's and Hong Kong's continued Covid-19 restrictions, which he said could lead to shifts in global air network growth towards South-east Asia and Singapore, allowing the Republic to quickly gain ground on Hong Kong's pre-pandemic lead.


Mr Walsh was in Singapore ahead of  the Changi Aviation Summit, with Iata expected to release a report later this week with revised forecasts.




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