CNN — Global air traffic will grow this year and return to pre-pandemic levels in June, according to a new report.

On Monday, the international aircraft leasing company Avolon said it expected a full recovery in passenger traffic in the coming months, led by the reopening of markets in Asia, especially China.

Andy Cronin, the company’s chief executive, said in a statement that China would serve as the main driver, helping boost global activity after “a two-thirds drop in traffic triggered by the pandemic.”

China scrapped its quarantine requirements last week after three years, prompting businesses around the world to prepare for the return of the world’s largest outbound travel market.

The news has further improved the outlook for the aviation sector, which already experienced “a 70% recovery in passenger traffic last year, led by recovery in Europe and North America,” Avolon said.

In 2023, airlines are expecting more good news: they are expected to finally regain their financial footing.

In a forecast published last month, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicted that airlines would turn a profit of $4.7 billion this year, despite fears of a global recession. Avolon shares that expectation, with the same estimate shared in its report on Monday.

It would mark the first time the sector has made money since 2019, as travelers return to the skies after years of Covid-19 restrictions that reduced demand for flights.

Currently, global air traffic has resumed at about 75% of November 2019 levels, IATA said last week.

Asia Pacific airlines stood out in the latest global numbers, enjoying a “November traffic increase of nearly 374% compared to November 2021, which was the strongest year-on-year rate among regions,” the association added.

IATA’s latest industry forecast, issued in December, is more conservative than Avolon’s, with global passenger demand “expected to reach 85.5% of 2019 levels over the course of 2023.”

But as passengers continue to return, experts warn that the industry faces another challenge.

“Travel demand is no longer the constraint to recovery, but rather the ability of airlines to put planes in the air,” Avolon said in its statement.

“Delivery delays have become endemic and an aircraft shortage is emerging given the loss of production of 2,400 aircraft that had been planned but not built due to the pandemic.”

— CNN’s Julia Horowitz and Livvy Doherty contributed to this report.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery company. All rights reserved.