Travel industry news on Friday 20 May 2022

IATA: Asia-Pacific is playing catch-up on restarting travel after Covid-19

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged Asia-Pacific states to ease border measures to accelerate the region’s recovery from Covid-19.

Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general urged governments to remove all restrictions for vaccinated travellers, as well as lifting quarantine and Covid-19 testing for unvaccinated travellers “where there are high levels of population immunity”.  He added that the mask mandate for air travel should also be removed when it is no longer required in other indoor environments and public transport.

European air traffic recovery accelerates, but threats remain

Airport passenger traffic across Europe is recovering at a faster than expected rate, with ACI Europe (Airports Council International) revising its 2022 forecast to 22 per cent below 2019 levels over the full year – up from the previous forecast of -32 per cent, published last October.

A full recovery to pre-pandemic volumes is now expected for 2024 rather than 2025.

However, the airport association sounded a note of caution, pointing to the ‘triple jeopardy’ of geopolitics, worsening economic conditions and the threat of new Covid-19 variants creating significant uncertainty.

Heathrow regains position as busiest international airport

London Heathrow has reclaimed its place as the busiest airport for international airline capacity in the world.  The UK hub, which occupied top spot for international capacity in 2019, is offering 762,000 departing seats this week putting it ahead of its global competitors, according to an update from aviation data firm OAG.  Although this figure is still down 16.5 per cent on the corresponding week in 2019 when Heathrow offered 912,000 seats.  Heathrow ranks just ahead of Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, which has 712,000 departing seats this week, and Dubai International at 701,000 seats.

The world’s top 20 largest airports are still all down on their 2019 capacity, although Dubai, Doha and Istanbul are only down by single digits in percentage terms.

Travel news as a glance:

  • ·        United opens largest Club lounge in its network at Newark airport
  • ·        Singapore to restart Changi Terminal 5 project
  • ·        Qatar Airways and Malaysia Airlines expand partnership
  • ·        Swiss launches Munich-Zurich Air Rail route
  • ·        Skyteam opens first branded lounge in South America at Santiago International Airport
  • ·        London City reveals roadmap to becoming ‘net zero’ airport