Middle East air traffic went up by 246.5% year-on-year (YoY) in June 2022, showing huge growth compared to 2021, but revenue was still some way behind pre-pandemic levels, according to new data.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Friday that while passenger numbers are well ahead of 2019, revenue per seat kilometre was still 25.5% below 2019.

The Middle East market has shown stronger aviation recovery year-on-year compared to Africa, North America and Latin America, which saw passenger number increases of 103.6%, 168.8% and 136.6%, respectively.

Asia-Pacific passenger numbers soared by 492% and Europe’s by 234.4%.

“Demand for air travel remains strong. After two years of lockdowns and border restrictions, people are taking advantage of the freedom to travel wherever they can,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

Global domestic traffic was up 5.2% YoY with total domestic traffic 81.4% of the June 2019 level, IATA said.

Meanwhile, total international traffic rose 229.5% compared to June 2021, reaching 65% of pre-pandemic levels, with the lifting of travel restrictions in most parts of the Asia-Pacific region contributing to the recovery.

Traffic for Middle Eastern routes to North America, measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs), was above 2019 levels by 21.9%, while for Middle East to Africa routes, it was 10.9% below 2019 levels.

(Reporting by Imogen Lillywhite; editing by )