Nigeria, African countries record 92% air passenger growth

NIGERIAN and other African airlines recorded a 91.8 per cent increase in March revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) versus a year ago, according to a new report by the International Air Transport Association.

The report, titled “Passenger traffic recovery continues in March,” noted that impacts from the conflict in Ukraine on air travel demand were quite limited overall while Omicron-related effects continued to be confined largely to Asian domestic markets.

The report read in part, “African airlines had a 91.8 per cent rise in March RPKs versus a year ago, improved compared to the 70.8 per cent year-over-year increase recorded in February 2022 compared to the same month in 2021.”

According to the report, air travel demand is challenged by low vaccination rates on the continent as well as impacts from rising inflation. March 2022 capacity was up 49.9 per cent and load factor climbed 14.1 percentage points to 64.5 per cent.

It further read, “Total traffic in March 2022 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was up 76 per cent compared to March 2021. Although that was lower than the 115.9 per cent rise in February year-over-year demand, volumes in March were the closest to 2019 pre-pandemic levels, at 41 per cent below.

“March 2022 domestic traffic was up 11.7 per cent compared to the year-ago period, far below the 59.4% year-over-year improvement recorded in February. This largely was a result of the Omicron-related lockdowns in China. March domestic RPKs were down 23.2 per cent versus March 2019.”

The report added that international RPKs rose 285.3% versus March 2021, exceeding the 259.2 per cent gain experienced in February versus the year-earlier period. Most regions boosted their performance compared to the prior month, led by carriers in Europe. March 2022 international RPKs were down 51.9 per cent compared to the same month in 2019.

“With barriers to travel coming down in most places, we are seeing the long-expected surge in pent-up demand finally being realized. Unfortunately, we are also seeing long delays at many airports with insufficient resources to handle the growing numbers. This must be addressed urgently to avoid frustrating consumer enthusiasm for air travel,” the IATA Director-General, Willie Walsh, was quoted to have said.

Article first published on the Punch Website

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