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Tue, 8 November 2022

Aviation: RPK Increases 57% in September

(08/11/22)  IATA's passenger data for September 2022 shows that the recovery in air travel remains strong.

Total traffic during the month, measured in revenue passenger kilometers (RPK), rose 57% compared to September 2021, meaning that traffic globally is now at 73.8% of September 2019 levels.

Domestic traffic for September 2022 was up 6.9% compared to the same month last year, and at 81% of the September 2019 level.

International traffic climbed 122.2% versus September 2021, with international RPKs reaching 69.9% of September 2019 levels. All markets reported strong growth, led by Asia-Pacific.

Thai Airways aircraft at BKK. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.
Thai Airways aircraft at BKK. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com

Even with economic and geopolitical uncertainties, the demand for air transport continues to recover ground. The outlier is still China with its pursuit of a zero COVID strategy keeping borders largely closed and creating a demand roller coaster ride for its domestic market, with September being down 46.4% on the previous year, said Willie Walsh, IATAs Director General. That is in sharp contrast to the rest of Asia-Pacific, which, despite Chinas dismal performance, posted a 464.8% increase for international traffic compared to the year-ago period.

European carriers' September traffic climbed 78.3% versus September 2021. Capacity increased 43.8%, and load factor moved up 16.3 percentage points to 84.1%, the second highest among the regions.

Middle Eastern airlines posted a 149.7% traffic rise in September compared to September 2021. September capacity increased 63.5% versus the year-ago period, and load factor climbed 27.6 percentage points to 80%.

North American carriers had a 128.9% traffic rise in September versus the 2021 period. Capacity increased 63% and load factor climbed 24.6 percentage points to 85.4%, which was the highest among the regions for a fourth consecutive month.

Latin American airlines September traffic rose 99.4% compared to the same month in 2021. September capacity climbed 73.7% and load factor increased 10.8 percentage points to 83.5%.

African airlines saw a 90.5% rise in September RPKs versus a year ago. September 2022 capacity was up 47.2% and load factor climbed 16.7 percentage points to 73.6%, the lowest among regions.

Asia-Pacific airlines saw a 464.8% rise in September traffic compared to September 2021, the strongest year-on-year rate among the regions. Capacity rose 165.3% and the load factor was up 41.5 percentage points to 78.3%.

Domestic Passenger Markets

Japans domestic RPK rose 127.9% in September and is now at nearly 75.6% of 2019 levels.

US domestic traffic climbed 16.8% in September compared to September 2021, pushing it to 0.4% above the September 2019 level. The 85.4% load factor was the highest among the domestic markets.

Looking Ahead

Strong demand is helping the industry cope with sky high fuel prices, said Walsh. To support that demand in the long-term, we need to pay attention to what travelers are telling us. After nearly three years of pandemic travel complexity, IATAs 2022 Global Passenger Survey (GPS) shows that travelers want simplification and convenience. Thats an important message for airlines but also for airports and governments. They own many of the facilitation processes that let passengers down at some key airports over this years northern summer travel season. According to the GPS, a majority of passengers want to use biometric data rather than passports for border processes. And 93% of passengers are interested in trusted traveler programs to expedite security screening. Modernizing the facilitation experience will not only help alleviate the choke points, it will create a better experience for all.

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