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KUALA LUMPUR: The recovery in air travel continued in November 2021 but Omicron restrictions are likely to affect the period ahead, said the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

International demand sustained its steady upward trend as more markets reopened, it noted.

Domestic traffic, however, weakened, largely owing to strengthened travel restrictions in China.

“Total demand for air travel in November 2021 (measured in revenue passenger-kilometres or RPKs) was down 47.0% compared to November 2019. This marked an uptick compared to October’s 48.9% contraction from October 2019,“ it said in a statement yesterday.

IATA noted that domestic air travel deteriorated slightly in November after two consecutive monthly improvements.

“Domestic RPKs fell by 24.9% versus 2019 compared with a 21.3% decline in October.

“Primarily this was driven by China, where traffic fell 50.9% compared to 2019 after several cities introduced stricter travel restrictions to contain (pre-Omicron) Covid outbreaks,“ it said.

According to the IATA, the international passenger demand in November was 60.5% below that of November 2019, bettering the 64.8% decline recorded in October.

IATA director-general Willie Walsh said if the experience of the last 22 months has shown anything, it is that there is little to no correlation between the introduction of travel restrictions and preventing transmission of the virus across borders.

“And these measures place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods. If experience is the best teacher, let us hope that governments pay more attention as we begin the new year,” said Walsh. – Bernama

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