Global air passenger traffic rebounds to 95.6% of pre-pandemic levels

Asia-Pacific airlines record the fastest growth in July, Iata says

Travellers pass through the Delta terminal at Los Angeles International Airport. The International Air Transport Association said the post-Covid recovery momentum continued in July amid higher passenger traffic. AFP
Powered by automated translation

Global passenger traffic rebounded to 95.6 per cent of its pre-pandemic levels in July, led by airlines in Asia-Pacific, which recorded the fastest growth, the International Air Transport Association said.

Total passenger traffic worldwide increased 26.2 per cent on an annual basis in July, according to Iata's monthly report.

International passenger traffic climbed 29.6 per cent compared with the same month a year ago and reached 88.7 per cent of July 2019 levels with all markets recording strong growth, it added.

Demand for domestic travel, on the other hand, rose 21.5 per cent on an annual basis in July and was 8.3 per cent above the July 2019 levels amid higher demand in China, the world's second-largest economy.

“Planes were full during July as people continued to travel in ever greater numbers," said Willie Walsh, Iata’s director general.

"Importantly, forward ticket sales indicate that traveller confidence remains high. And there is every reason to be optimistic about the continuing recovery."

Demand for travel continues to rise as countries have lifted coronavirus pandemic related restrictions and people who postponed their journey during pandemic years have started flying again.

Airlines in the Asia Pacific region recorded a 105.8 per cent annual increase in July passenger traffic, with capacity climbing 96.2 per cent and the load factor jumping to 84.5 per cent during the month.

Middle East Airlines reported a 22.6 per cent year-on-year surge in July traffic, while European carriers’ passenger traffic rose 13.8 per cent during the month.

North American airlines recorded a 17.7 per cent rise in traffic. Airlines operating in Latin America as well as those in Africa also reported higher passenger traffic during the month.

China's domestic traffic jumped 71.9 per cent annually in July and stood at 22.5 per cent above July 2019 levels, the strongest gain against pre-pandemic levels among domestic markets.

US domestic passenger traffic also rose during the month.

“The Northern Hemisphere summer is living up to expectations for very strong traffic demand," said Mr Walsh.

"While the industry was largely prepared to accommodate a return to pre-pandemic levels of operations, unfortunately, the same cannot be said for our infrastructure providers," he said, while adding performance of some of the key air navigations services providers, "has been deeply disappointing," and "must be promptly corrected".

He also said political decisions by some governments including Mexico and the Netherlands to impose capacity cuts at their major hubs will "most certainly destroy jobs and damage local and national economies".

Amsterdam Airport plans to reduce annual flight numbers to 460,000 from 500,000 starting in November as part of the government's environmental policies to reduce noise and air pollution.

Updated: September 10, 2023, 5:54 AM