LONDON - Global airline traffic recovered to 68.5% of pre-pandemic levels last year and surged 64.4% from 2021, according to figures published by global aviation body IATA on Monday.

Airlines lost tens of billions of dollars in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and saw the first signs of relief as travel started to return in 2022, particularly during the summer months.

With China's recent reopening, that recovery is set to continue, the head of IATA said.

"This momentum is expected to continue in the New Year, despite some governments' overreactions to China's reopening," said Willie Walsh, IATA's director-general.

(Reporting by Joanna Plucinska Editing by David Goodman and Bernadette Baum)