Airlines in Asia-Pacific Lead Strong Growth in
Global Air Traffic
IATA has reported that global air traffic,
measured in revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs), rose 52.4% in
March 2023 compared to the same month last year.
Globally, traffic is now at 88% of March 2019
Domestic traffic for March rose 34.1% compared to
the year-ago period. Total March 2023 domestic traffic was at
98.9% of the March 2019 level.
International traffic climbed 68.9% versus March
2022 with all markets recording healthy growth, led once again by
carriers in the Asia-Pacific region. International RPKs reached
81.6% of March 2019 levels while the load factor at 81.3% exceeded
the March 2019 level by 10.1 percentage points.
“The calendar year first quarter ended on a strong
note for air travel demand,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director
General. “Domestic markets have been near their pre-pandemic
levels for months. And for international travel two key waypoints
were topped. First, demand increased by 3.5 percentage points
compared to the previous month’s growth, to reach 81.6% of
pre-COVID levels. This was led by a near-tripling of demand for
Asia-Pacific carriers as China’s re-opening took hold. And
efficiency is improving as international load factors reached
81.3%. Even more importantly, ticket sales for both domestic and
international travel give every indication that strong growth will
continue into the peak Northern Hemisphere summer travel season.”
had a 283.1% increase in March 2023 traffic compared to March
2022, continuing the robust momentum since the lifting of travel restrictions in the region. Capacity rose 161.5% and the load
factor increased 26.8 percentage points to 84.5%, the second
highest among the regions.
European carriers posted a
38.5% traffic rise versus March 2022. Capacity climbed 27.0%, and
load factor rose 6.6 percentage points to 79.4%, which was the
second lowest among the regions.
Middle Eastern airlines
saw a 43.1% traffic increase compared to March a year ago.
Capacity climbed 30.5% and load factor pushed up 7.0 percentage points to 79.4%.
North American carriers’ traffic
climbed 51.6% in March 2023 versus the 2022 period. Capacity
increased 34.0%, and load factor rose 9.8 percentage points to
84.8%, the highest among the regions.
airlines had a 36.5% traffic increase compared to the same month
in 2022. March capacity climbed 33.4% and load factor rose 1.9
percentage points to 82.8%.
African airlines’ traffic
rose 71.7% in March 2023 versus a year ago, the second highest
among the regions. March capacity was up 56.2% and load factor
climbed 6.5 percentage points to 72.2%, lowest among the regions.
Domestic Passenger Markets
traffic rose 8% in March compared to the same month in 2022 and is now just
fractionally below pre-pandemic levels.
domestic demand climbed 20.3% in March, 10% above
March 2019 levels.
“As traveler expectations build
towards the peak northern hemisphere summer travel season,
airlines are doing their best to meet the desire and need to fly,”
said Walsh. “Unfortunately, a lack of capacity means that some of those
travelers may be disappointed. Part of this capacity shortfall is
attributable to the widely reported labor shortages impacting many
parts of the aviation value chain, as well as supply chain issues
affecting the aircraft manufacturing sector that is resulting in
aircraft delivery delays. However, a significant share of recent
flight cancellations, primarily in Europe, are owing to job
actions by air traffic controllers and others. These irresponsible
actions resulted in thousands of unnecessary cancellations in
March. This is unacceptable and should not be tolerated by the
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