Global Air Traffic at 90.5% of Pre-COVID19
Levels in April 2023
IATA has reported that total traffic in April 2023, measured in revenue passenger kilometers
(RPK) rose 45.8%
compared to the same month last year.
Globally, traffic is now at 90.5% of pre-COVID
levels, and at 81.3%, the industry load factor was only 1.8 percentage
points below the pre-pandemic level.
Domestic traffic for April
rose 42.6% compared to in April 2022 and has now fully
recovered, posting a 2.9% increase over the April 2019 results.
International traffic climbed 48% versus April 2022 with
all markets recording healthy growth, with carriers in the
Asia-Pacific region continuing to lead the recovery. International
RPK reached 83.6% of April 2019 levels.
continued the strong traffic trend we saw in the 2023 first
quarter. The easing of inflation and rising consumer confidence in
most OECD countries combined with declining jet fuel prices,
suggests sustained strong air travel demand and moderating cost
pressures,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
Asia-Pacific airlines saw an 192.7% increase in April 2023
traffic compared to April 2022. Capacity climbed 145.3% and the
load factor increased by 13.2 percentage points to 81.6%.
European carriers had a 22.6% traffic rise versus April
2022. Capacity rose 16%, and load factor climbed 4.5 percentage
points to 83.3%, which was the second highest among the regions.
Middle Eastern airlines posted a 38% traffic
increase compared to April a year ago. Capacity climbed 27.8% and
load factor rose 5.6 percentage points to 76.2%.
North American carriers’ traffic climbed 34.8% in April 2023
versus the 2022 period. Capacity increased 26.5%, and load factor
rose 5.2 percentage points to 83.8%, which was the highest among
the regions. North American international traffic is now fully
recovered, with RPKs 0.4% above April 2019 levels.
Latin American airlines saw a 25.8% traffic increase compared to
the same month in 2022. April capacity climbed 26.4% and load
factor slipped 0.4 percentage points to 83.1%.
African airlines’ traffic rose 53.5% in April 2023 versus a year
ago, the second highest among the regions. April capacity was up
50% and load factor climbed 1.6 percentage points to 69.8%,
lowest among the regions.
China’s domestic traffic rose
536.2% in April compared to a year ago and surpassing the April
2019 levels by 6%.
US airlines’ domestic demand
climbed 5.5% in April and was 3.3% above the April 2019 levels.
“Heading into the Northern Hemisphere peak travel season, aircraft
and airports are full of people eager to make use of their travel
freedoms,” said Walsh. “Airlines are working hard to accommodate them with a
smooth travel experience despite continuing supply chain shortages
and other operational challenges. Sadly, some governments appear
more keen on punitive regulation than on doing their part to
enable hassle-free travel. The Dutch Government’s high-handed
effort to slash capacity at Schiphol airport is a prime example.
And then we have a focus on EU-style passenger rights regulation
that is spreading like a contagion. Proponents of this approach
miss a key fact. EU 261 has not led to a reduction in delays.
That’s because penalizing airlines raises airline costs but does
not address delays caused by factors over which airlines have no
control, such as inefficient air traffic management or staffing
shortages at air navigation service providers. The single best
thing that Europe could do to improve the travel experience is
deliver the Single European Sky. As for other governments
contemplating passenger rights regulations, avoiding a repeat of
Europe’s mistake would be a helpful starting point.”
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