U.N. aviation agency forecasts rapid growth in passenger demand in 2023

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Planes sit on the tarmac at Columbia Metro airport in West Columbia, South Carolina, U.S., January 8, 2022. REUTERS/Sam Wolfe/File Photo

OTTAWA, Feb 8 (Reuters) - The United Nations' aviation agency on Wednesday forecast global air passenger demand in 2023 will rapidly recover to pre-pandemic levels on most routes by the first quarter and that 3% growth from 2019 levels will be achieved by the end of the year.

"The air passenger forecasts ICAO is announcing today build on the strong momentum toward recovery in 2022, as previously assessed by ICAO statistical analysis," the UN's International Civil Aviation Organization Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar said in a statement.

ICAO's prediction is the first major global forecast since China abandoned COVID-19 travel restrictions last month. In December airlines association IATA predicted a full global recovery to 2019 levels by 2024.

Reporting by Allison Lampert and Ismail Shakil; Editing by Leslie Adler

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