Air passengers are expected to hit 83% of pre-pandemic levels this year and the aviation industry's return to profit is "within reach" in 2023, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Monday.
"Airlines are resilient. People are flying in ever greater numbers. And cargo is performing well against a backdrop of growing economic uncertainty," IATA director-general Willie Walsh said in an upgraded industry forecast for 2022.
The air industry was sent reeling by the pandemic, with passenger numbers plunging 60% in 2020 and remaining 50% down in 2021. Airlines lost nearly $200 billion over two years.
While some firms in the sector went bankrupt, others – backed often by states – have emerged from the pandemic with profits intact.
Reflecting the enduring disruption, IATA was forced to move its annual general meeting from Shanghai to Qatar as China continues to grapple with the pandemic.
The global association represents 290 airlines, accounting for 83% of air travel worldwide./AFP