TOKYO, Japan: As travel restrictions ease in the Asia-Pacific region, passenger airline traffic should recover to some 73 percent of 2019 levels by year-end, according to Philip Goh of the International Air Transport Association.
This compares to airlines operating at 53 percent in August.
“There is no mistaking, I think the momentum is very strong, especially with all major markets in the Asia-Pacific now open, except for China,” Goh told reporters this week.
According to International Air Transport data, due to China’s ongoing border closures that have kept its international passenger numbers averaging only 2 to 3 percent of pre-pandemic levels, Asia’s aviation recovery has lagged behind other parts of the world.
Goh added that the year-end traffic estimate is based on the re-opening of China’s borders, though an actual date remains unknown.
This week, Japan resumed visa-free travel for tourists, and Taiwan will end quarantine for arrivals this week, while Hong Kong ended quarantines in September.
International Air Transport stressed that in August, the region’s international passenger traffic was operating at 38 percent of 2019 levels, and it is expected to take until 2025 to reach pre-pandemic levels.