Airports Council International (ACI)’s latest assessment has revealed a “positive and immediate impact on global air travel demand”.

ACI says this is a result of the lifting of travel restrictions in many European countries and the Americas, but notes that there is “more uneven recovery” due to the ongoing restrictions in Asia-Pacific.

The Covid-19 pandemic saw the loss of 50.3 per cent of global passenger traffic for the full year 2021.

Global passenger traffic is set to reach 77 per cent of what it was in 2019, with traffic for 2022 forecast to total 7.1 billion.

The recovery will be driven by domestic passenger traffic, according to ACI, but will be hindered by the “stagnation in Asia-Pacific and a slower recovery in global international travel”.

While global domestic passenger traffic is expected to reach 2019 levels in late 2023, international traffic will only reach pre-pandemic levels by the second half of 2024.

ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said:

“Considering my recent trips and based on the latest data, there is no doubt that many travellers are eager to resume travelling—and the early summer volumes are a testament to it.

“With the combination of ‘vacation deprivation’ and an upsurge in confidence in air travel provided by increased vaccination rates and safety measures, the relaxation of travel restrictions will help boost the propensity for air travel and fuel the industry’s recovery.

“With many countries taking steps towards the return to a certain normality, lifting almost all the health measures and travel restrictions, we expect a jump in air travel demand in the second half of 2022.”

The assessment also highlighted the uncertainties surrounding the recovery of the aviation industry due to “geopolitical conflicts, higher inflation, the risk of economic downturn, supply chain disruptions, labour shortages and potential new outbreaks”.