February 22, 2024
English TKP News

Global air travel demand continued to recover in 2023

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that the recovery in air travel continued in December 2023 and that total traffic in 2023 came even closer to matching pre-pandemic demand

Total traffic in 2023 (measured in paid passenger kilometers or RPKs) increased 36.9% compared to 2022. Globally, full-year 2023 traffic was at 94.1% of pre-pandemic levels (2019). December 2023 total traffic increased by 25.3% compared to December 2022 and reached 97.5% of the December 2019 level. Fourth quarter traffic reached 98.2% of 2019, reflecting the strong recovery towards the end of the year.

International traffic in 2023 increased by 41.6% compared to 2022 and reached 88.6% of 2019 levels. December 2023 international traffic increased by 24.2% compared to December 2022, reaching 94 .7% of December 2019 level. Fourth quarter traffic was 94.5% of 2019.

Domestic traffic for 2023 increased by 30.4% compared to the previous year. Domestic traffic in 2023 was 3.9% above the full-year 2019 level. December 2023 domestic traffic was up 27.0% over the prior-year period and was 2.3% above of traffic in December 2019. Traffic in the fourth quarter was 4.4% higher than that of the same quarter in 2019.

“The strong post-pandemic rebound continued into 2023. December traffic remained just 2.5% below 2019 levels, with strong performance in the fourth quarter, preparing airlines to return to patterns of normal growth in 2024. The recovery in travel is good news. . Restoring connectivity is boosting the global economy as people travel to do business, advance their education, take hard-earned vacations, and much more. But to maximize the benefits of air travel in the post-pandemic world, governments must take a strategic approach. That means providing cost-effective infrastructure to meet demand, incentivizing the production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to meet our goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and adopting regulations that deliver a clear cost-benefit ratio. Completing the recovery should not be an excuse for governments to forget the critical role of aviation in increasing the prosperity and well-being of people and businesses around the world,” said Willie Walsh, IATA Director General.

International Passenger Markets
Asia-Pacific airlines recorded a 126.1% increase in international traffic for the full year 2023 compared to 2022, maintaining the strongest year-on-year rate among regions. Capacity increased by 101.8% and load factor rose 9.0 percentage points to 83.1%. Traffic in December 2023 increased by 56.9% compared to December 2022.

European airlines’ annual traffic increased by 22.0% compared to 2022. Capacity increased by 17.5% and load factor increased by 3.1 percentage points to 83.8%. In December, demand increased by 13.6% compared to the same month in 2022. December traffic was higher than the corresponding month in 2019 for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

Middle East airlines saw traffic increase by 33.3% in 2023 compared to 2022. Capacity increased by 26.0% and load factor rose 4.4 percentage points to 80.1%. December demand rose 16.6% compared to the same month in 2022.

North American carriers reported an annual traffic increase of 28.3% in 2023 compared to 2022. Capacity increased 22.4% and load factor increased 3.9 percentage points to 84.6%. December 2023 traffic increased by 13.5% compared to the same period last year.

Latin American airlines reported a 28.6% increase in traffic in 2023 compared to the full year of 2022. Annual capacity increased by 25.4% and load factor increased 2.1 percentage points to 84.7%. the highest among the regions. December demand rose 26.5% compared to December 2022.

African airlines’ annual traffic increased by 38.7% in 2023 compared to the previous year. Full-year 2023 capacity increased 38.3% and load factor rose 0.2 percentage points to 71.9%, the lowest among the regions. December 2023 traffic for African airlines increased by 9.5% compared to December 2022.

The bottom line
“Our effort to connect our world more strongly than before the pandemic should not come at the expense of our environment. The industry’s goal of achieving net zero CO2 emissions by 2050 remains firm. To accelerate the transition, we need governments and fuel suppliers to step up and do more. We saw a sharp increase in SAF use in 2023, but SAF still represents only 3% of all global renewable fuel production. That is unacceptable. Aircraft have no choice but to rely on liquid fuels, while other modes of transportation have alternatives. A massive collective effort is needed to increase SAF production as a proportion of total renewable fuel production as quickly as possible,” Walsh said.

Source: IATA.

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