Air travel reaches 99% of 2019 levels: IATA

Mideast airlines see 18.6% rise in November traffic


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Published: Wed 10 Jan 2024, 7:53 PM

Global air travel demand topped 99 per cent of 2019 levels in November 2023, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) data showed on Wednesday.

The total traffic in November 2023 (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) rose 29.7 per cent compared to November 2022. Globally, traffic is now at 99.1 per cent of November 2019 levels.

International traffic rose 26.4 per cent versus November 2022. The Asia-Pacific region continued to report the strongest year-over-year results (+63.8 per cent) with all regions showing improvement compared to the prior year. November 2023 international RPKs reached 94.5 per cent of November 2019 levels.

Domestic traffic for November 2023 was up 34.8 per cent compared to November 2022. Total November 2023 domestic traffic was 6.7 per cent above the November 2019 level. Growth was particularly strong in China (+272 per cent) as it recovered from the COVID-19 travel restrictions that were still in place a year ago. US domestic travel, benefiting from strong Thanksgiving holidays demand, reached a new high, expanding +9.1 per cent over November 2019.

“We are moving ever closer to surpassing the 2019 peak year for air travel. Economic headwinds are not deterring people from taking to the skies. International travel remains 5.5 per cent below pre-pandemic levels, but that gap is rapidly closing. And domestic markets have been above their pre-pandemic levels continuously since April,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s director-general.

Asia-Pacific airlines had a 63.8 per cent rise in November traffic compared to November 2022, which was the strongest year-over-year rate among the regions. Capacity rose 58.0 per cent and the load factor was up 2.9 percentage points to 82.6 per cent.

European carriers’ November traffic climbed 14.8 per cent versus November 2022. Capacity increased 15.2 per cent, and load factor declined 0.3 per centage points to 83.3 per cent.

Middle Eastern airlines saw an 18.6 per cent traffic rise in November compared to November 2022. November capacity increased 19.0 per cent versus the year-ago period, and load factor fell 0.2 per centage points to 77.4 per cent.

North American carriers experienced a 14.3 per cent traffic rise in November versus the 2022 period. Capacity increased 16.3 per cent, and load factor fell 1.4 per centage points to 80.0 per cent.

Latin American airlines’ November traffic rose 20.0 per cent compared to the same month in 2022. November capacity climbed 17.7 per cent and load factor increased 1.7 per centage points to 84.9 per cent, the highest of any region.

African airlines had a 22.1 per cent rise in November RPKs versus a year ago. November 2023 capacity was up 29.6 per cent and load factor fell 4.3 per centage points to 69.7 per cent, the lowest among regions.

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