Global traffic now 85% of February 2019 levels showing strong post-pandemic comeback
According to the latest International Air Transport Association (IATA) figures, domestic and international air travel is rapidly returning to pre-pandemic levels.
February results rose 55% year-on-year, with global traffic now at 85% of February 2019 levels, the eve of the global pandemic’s international lockdown.
Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General said: “Despite the uncertain economic signals, demand for air travel continues to be strong across the globe and particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. The industry is now just about 15% below 2019 levels of demand and that gap is narrowing each month."
International traffic climbed 90% since February 2022 with all markets recording strong growth, led again by carriers in the Asia-Pacific region where airlines had a 379% year on year increase reflecting the lifting of travel restrictions in the region. Capacity rose 176% and the load factor increased 35 percentage points to 82.5%, the second highest among the regions.
Middle Eastern airlines saw a 75% traffic increase year on year with capacity climbing 40.5% and load factor pushed up 16 percentage points to 80%.
“People are flying in ever greater numbers,” Walsh added. “They should do so with confidence that airlines have been rebuilding resiliency that suffered owing to the pandemic. Other participants in the air travel value chain, including airports, air navigation service providers, and airport security staff, need to have the same commitment to ensuring our customers can enjoy smooth holiday travel."
African airlines’ traffic rose 91%, February capacity up 62% and load factor climbing 11 percentage points to 75%. In Europe, carriers showed a 48% traffic rise compared to February 2022 as capacity climbed 30% and load factor rose nine percentage points to 74%, which was the lowest among the regions.
North American carriers’ traffic climbed 67% in February 2023, capacity increasing 39.5%, and load factor rising 13 percentage points to 77%. Latin American airlines had a 44% traffic increase as capacity climbed 34% and load factor rose six percentage points to 83%, the highest among the regions.
Domestic traffic was also healthy, rising 25% year on year and reaching 97% of February 2019 figures.