IATA: Global Air Travel Recovery at 99% of 2019 Level

IATA: Global Air Travel Recovery at 99% of 2019 Level
IATA: Global Air Travel Recovery at 99% of 2019 Level
Written by Harry Johnson

International passenger demand experienced a significant increase of 26.4% compared to November 2022.

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In November 2023, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) provided data on air travel performance, which revealed that air travel demand exceeded 99% of the levels recorded in 2019.

In November 2023, the total volume of traffic increased by 29.7% when measured in revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) as compared to November 2022. Currently, global traffic has reached 99.1% of the levels recorded in November 2019.

International passenger demand experienced a significant increase of 26.4% compared to November 2022. Notably, the Asia-Pacific area exhibited the most robust year-over-year growth (+63.8%), while all regions showcased positive improvements compared to the previous year. In November 2023, international revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) reached an impressive 94.5% of the levels recorded in November 2019.

In November 2023, domestic travel experienced a significant increase of 34.8% compared to November 2022. Moreover, it surpassed the November 2019 level by 6.7%. Notably, China witnessed remarkable growth of 272% as it recovered from the travel restrictions imposed due to COVID, while US domestic travel reached a new peak, expanding by 9.1% compared to November 2019, driven by robust demand during Thanksgiving holidays.

Willie Walsh, the Director General of IATA, stated that air travel is approaching the highest point it reached in 2019. Despite economic challenges, people are not hesitating to fly. While international travel is still 5.5% lower than before the pandemic, the gap is quickly narrowing. On the other hand, domestic markets have consistently exceeded pre-pandemic levels since April.

International Passenger Markets

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

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

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

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

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

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

The rapid recovery of aviation from COVID shows how crucial flying is for individuals and businesses. Governments also recognized the importance of transitioning from jet fuel to Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) to reduce aviation’s carbon footprint. At the Third Conference on Aviation Alternative Fuels (CAAF/3) in November, governments agreed to aim for a 5% reduction in carbon emissions from SAF by 2030. This commitment was further reinforced at COP28 in December, where governments agreed on the need to shift away from fossil fuels to mitigate the severe impacts of climate change. Airlines have already committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and have been purchasing and using SAF. However, the current production of SAF is insufficient. Therefore, it is crucial for governments to take comprehensive policy measures in 2024 to fulfill their own declarations and ensure sufficient SAF supply.

WHAT TO TAKE AWAY FROM THIS ARTICLE:

  • At the Third Conference on Aviation Alternative Fuels (CAAF/3) in November, governments agreed to aim for a 5% reduction in carbon emissions from SAF by 2030.
  • Notably, China witnessed remarkable growth of 272% as it recovered from the travel restrictions imposed due to COVID, while US domestic travel reached a new peak, expanding by 9.
  • This commitment was further reinforced at COP28 in December, where governments agreed on the need to shift away from fossil fuels to mitigate the severe impacts of climate change.

About the author

Harry Johnson

Harry Johnson has been the assignment editor for eTurboNews for mroe than 20 years. He lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is originally from Europe. He enjoys writing and covering the news.

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