Â Strong performance in December 2021 drove an 18.7 percent growth in demand compared with 2020,Â representing the biggest year-on-year improvement since 1990.
The reintroduction of travel restrictions in response to the outbreak of the Omicron variant of the Covid virus in late 2021 weakened what looked to be a relatively strong year of recovery for airlines. Recently year-end figures for 2021 was released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) painted a mixed picture of the industryâ€™s global fortunes that the groupâ€™s director-general, Willie Walsh, argued directly related to governmentsâ€™ approaches to the imposition of travel rules.
According to the information, IATA called on governments to accelerate the lifting of all travel restrictions, including quarantine and test requirements for fully-vaccinated passengers, and allowing quarantine-free travel for non-vaccinated passengers with a negative pre-departure antigen test result. Also, Airlines for Europe and seven other air transport and travel industry groups called for European Union member states to set uniform Covid travel rules.
Some few Taking countries has lift the travel restrictions such as France, Switzerland, and the UK, Walsh expressed optimism for a more sustained bounce-back from Covid this year. He said, â€œThe challenge for 2022 is to reinforce that confidence by normalizing travel,â€ pointing to the overall strengthening in demand for travel last year, even in the face of the Omicron outbreak. â€œWhile international travel remains far from normal in many parts of the world, there is momentum in the right direction.â€
â€œWhile international travel remains far from normal in many parts of the world, there is momentum in the right direction.â€
IATAâ€™s year-end statistics showed the Asia-Pacific region lagging behind other parts of the world, which the group said was largely explained by strict travel restrictions in large countries like China and Australia. â€œThere was an almost total collapse of international travel in that region, while Europe accounted for about half of all international travel,â€ Walsh stated.
Walsh repeated his long-standing claim that travel restrictions have done little or nothing to tackle the public health emergency while inflicting unjustified damage on airlines. Further he said, â€œThere is no clear link between new cases and travel restrictions, which have often been maintained by governments even after the number of cases started fallingâ€ pointing to new research published by Edge Health and Oxera.
Looking ahead, IATA sees further pressure on airline balance sheets from rising operating costs, driven mainly by factors such as jet-A fuel prices, the price of whichÂ on January 21 stood at $103.01 per barrel of crude oil compared with $77.80 in October 2021. Walsh said that airlines are closely monitoring the trend and other increases in supply chain costs while acknowledging that any fuel price hedging arrangements will likely not compensate for the spike. He said the effect of the Omicron-related travel restrictions late in 2021 will likely undermineÂ year-end airline earnings.
Asked to comment on the ongoing dispute between IATA member Qatar Airways and Airbus over reported faults with A350 aircraft, Walsh said that other airlines will look closely at how the manufacturer responds, seemingly implying that the situation might reflect a market imbalance. â€œWhen you have two [main airliner] suppliers, we need to ensure good healthy competition,â€ he commented.
â€œWhen you have two [main airliner] suppliers, we need to ensure good healthy competition,â€ he commented.