Air travel within an arm rest’s distance of pre-pandemic levels

Aerial top view of Blue ocean surface background

There’s good news from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

It announced continued strong growth in air travel demand, based on February 2023 traffic results.

Total traffic in February 2023 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) rose 55.5 per cent compared to February 2022. Globally, traffic is now at 84.9 per cent of February 2019 levels.

Domestic traffic for February rose 25.2 per cent compared to the year-ago period. Total February 2023 domestic traffic was at 97.2 per cent of the February 2019 level.

International traffic climbed 89.7 per cent versus February 2022 with all markets recording strong growth, led once again by carriers in the Asia-Pacific region. International RPKs reached 77.5 per cent of February 2019 levels.

“Despite the uncertain economic signals, demand for air travel continues to be strong across the globe and particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.

“The industry is now just about 15 per cent below 2019 levels of demand and that gap is narrowing each month,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

(IATA Statistics)

Asia-Pacific airlines had a 378.7 per cent increase in February 2023 traffic compared to February 2022, maintaining the very positive momentum of the past few months since the lifting of travel restrictions in the region.

Capacity rose 176.4 per cent and the load factor increased 34.9 percentage points to 82.5 per cent, the second highest among the regions.

European carriers posted a 47.9 per cent traffic rise versus February 2022.

Capacity climbed 29.7 per cent, and load factor rose 9.1 percentage points to 73.7 per cent, which was the lowest among the regions.

Middle Eastern airlines saw a 75.0 per cent traffic increase compared to February a year ago. Capacity climbed 40.5 per cent and load factor pushed up 15.8 percentage points to 80.0 per cent.

North American carriers’ traffic climbed 67.4 per cent in February 2023 versus the 2022 period. Capacity increased 39.5 per cent, and load factor rose 12.8 percentage points to 76.6 per cent.

Latin American airlines had a 44.1 per cent traffic increase compared to the same month in 2022. February capacity climbed 34.0 per cent and load factor rose 5.8 percentage points to 82.7 per cent, the highest among the regions.

African airlines’ traffic rose 90.7 per cent in February 2023 versus a year ago. February capacity was up 61.7 per cent and load factor climbed 11.4 percentage points to 75.0 per cent.

(IATA Statistics)

Japan’s domestic traffic surged 161.4 per cent in February compared to a year ago and now stands at 89.9 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

US airlines’ domestic demand rose 10.6 per cent in February and was 0.7 per cent ahead of February 2019 levels.

(IATA Statistics)

“People are flying in ever greater numbers. With the Easter and Passover holidays we are expecting large numbers of travellers to take to the skies in many parts of the world.

“They should do so with confidence that airlines have been rebuilding resiliency that suffered owing to the pandemic.

“Other participants in the air travel value chain, including airports, air navigation service providers, and airport security staff, need to have the same commitment to ensuring our customers can enjoy smooth holiday travel,” said Walsh

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