According to Willie Walsh, Director General of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), this year’s summer travel season got off to a strong start in June with double-digit demand growth and average load factors topping 84%.
“Planes are full which is good news for airlines, local economies, and travel and tourism dependent jobs. All benefit from the industry’s ongoing recovery,” said Walsh.
Mr. Walsh’s comments came in the wake of IATA‘s announcement that the post-COVID recovery momentum continued in June for passenger markets:
• Total traffic in June 2023 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) rose 31.0% compared to June 2022. Globally, traffic is now at 94.2% of pre-COVID levels. For the first half of 2023, total traffic was up 47.2% compared to the year-ago period.
• Domestic traffic for June rose 27.2% compared to the same month a year ago and was 5.1% above the June 2019 results. Domestic demand was up 33.3% in the 2023 first half compared to a year ago.
• International traffic climbed 33.7% versus June 2022 with all markets showing robust growth. International RPKs reached 88.2% of June 2019 levels. First half 2023 international traffic was up 58.6% over the first half of 2022.
International Passenger Markets:
• Asia-Pacific airlines had a 128.1% increase in June 2023 traffic compared to June 2022, easily the largest percentage gain among the regions. Capacity climbed 115.6% and the load factor increased by 4.6 percentage points to 82.9%.
• European carriers posted a 14.0% traffic rise versus June 2022. Capacity rose 12.6%, and load factor climbed 1.1 percentage points to 87.8%, which was the second highest among the regions.
• Middle Eastern airlines’ June traffic climbed 29.2% compared to June last year. Capacity rose 25.9% and load factor improved 2.0 percentage points to 79.8%.
• North American carriers saw traffic climb 23.3% in June 2023 versus the 2022 period. Capacity increased 19.5%, and load factor rose 2.7 percentage points to 90.2%, which was the highest among the regions.
• Latin American airlines had a 25.8% traffic increase compared to the same month in 2022. June capacity climbed 25.0% and load factor rose 0.6 percentage points to 84.8%.
• African airlines’ traffic rose 34.7% in June 2023 versus a year ago, the second highest percentage gain among the regions. June capacity was up 44.8% and load factor fell 5.1 percentage points to 68.1%, lowest among the regions. Africa was the only region to see a decline in the monthly international load factor compared to the year ago period.
“As strong as travel demand has been, arguably it could be even stronger. Demand is outrunning capacity growth. Well documented problems in the aviation supply chain mean that many airlines have not taken delivery of all the new, more environmentally friendly aircraft they had expected, while numerous aircraft are parked awaiting critical spare parts. And, for the fleet that is in service, some air navigation service providers (ANSPs) are failing to deliver the requisite capacity and resilience to meet travel demand. Delays and trimmed schedules are frustrating for both passengers and their airlines. Governments cannot continue to ignore the accountability of ANSPs in places where passenger rights regimes place the brunt of accountability on airlines,” said Walsh.