The Airports Council International (ACI) says global passenger traffic in 2022 will be significantly higher than during the previous two years due to the relaxation of travel restrictions and returning confidence in air travel. 

Global passenger traffic is expected to reach 77% of COVID-19 pandemic levels, with 7.1 billion passengers travelling through airports in 2022. The positive trends in 2022 will be driven by global domestic passenger traffic.  

However, ACI warned that much uncertainty still surrounds the air travel recovery, “especially in the medium to long term” due to geopolitical conflicts, higher inflation, the risk of economic downturn, supply chain bottlenecks, labor shortages and potential new outbreaks.  

According to the organization, global domestic passenger traffic is forecasted to reach pre-pandemic levels in late 2023, while global international passenger traffic is expected to reach pre-COVID levels in the second half of 2024. This is hampered by a sluggish recovery in Asia-Pacific and a slower recovery in global international travel. 

“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,” ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said. 

“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,” de Oliveira added. 

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