Global air travel reached 96% of pre-Covid levels in August
The International Air Transport Association (Iata) has reported the “strong” post-pandemic passenger traffic trend continued in August, almost reaching pre-Covid levels.
Total traffic in August 2023, measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) rose by 28.4% compared to August 2022. Globally, traffic is now at 95.7% of pre-pandemic levels.
International traffic climbed 30.4% year-on-year and all markets saw double-digit percentage gains year-on-year. International RPKs reached 88.5% of August 2019 levels.
Iata director general Willie Walsh said: “Demand for air travel performed well in August. For the year to date, international traffic has increased by 50% versus last year and ticket sales data show international bookings strengthening for travel in the last part of the year.”
European carriers’ August traffic rose 13.6% compared to August 2022, while capacity increased 12.3%.
Walsh added: “Heading into the last quarter of the year, the airline industry is nearly fully recovered to 2019 levels of demand. The focus, however, has not been on getting back to a specific number of passengers or flights, but rather on meeting the demand by businesses and individuals for connectivity that was artificially suppressed for more than two years.
“Having seen the economic, social and personal losses when airlines could not fly during the Covid-19 crisis, this industry is determined to secure a sustainable long-term future by achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.”
He said this was “clearly evident” at the first Iata World Sustainability Symposium, held in Madrid from 2 to 4 October 2023.
“We know that our customers want a world in which they can enjoy the freedom to travel sustainably,” said Walsh. “This inaugural World Sustainability Symposium was a critical step in aligning policy makers, the aviation value chain and airlines with the concrete steps needed to deliver. We will measure progress when we meet again in a year’s time.”