Airlines in the UAE and the rest of the Middle East region will see their net losses drop by more than half this year as travel demand continues to recover. 

Combined net losses of carriers across the region will be around $1.9 billion in 2022, an improvement from the $4.7 billion losses recorded last year, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Monday. 

The region’s losses will be lower compared to other major travel markets, including Europe, where airlines are forecast to lose $3.9 billion in 2022, Asia Pacific ($8.9 billion) and Latin America ($3.2 billion). 

One of the world’s largest long-haul operators, Emirates, has recently seen a surge in travel bookings, with more than half a million of its customers already booked to fly out of Dubai International (DXB) between June and July alone. 

The Dubai-based airline, which posted a loss of 3.9 billion ($1 billion) for the financial year ending March 31, has been expanding its passenger capacity to meet growing demand. It expects to operate close to 80 percent of its pre-crisis capacity or offer more than one million passenger seats per week this summer. 

“In the Middle East, this year’s re-opening of international routes and long-haul flights in particular will provide a welcome boost for many,” IATA said. 

The association of global airlines has forecast that the region’s air travel demand, measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs), could reach 72 percent of pre-crisis levels. 

(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)