International air travel nearly matches 2019 levels in November, IATA says

International air travel nearly matches 2019 levels in November, IATA says

The International

Air Transport Association (IATA) has reported encouraging data for November 2023, signalling a robust recovery in the air travel sector, with demand surpassing 99 per cent of 2019 levels.

Total air travel traffic, measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs), experienced a substantial surge of 29.7 per cent in November 2023 compared to the same month in 2022. Impressively, global air travel is now at 99.1 per cent of the levels recorded in November 2019.

International air traffic saw a remarkable increase of 26.4 per cent in November 2023 compared to the previous year.

The Asia-Pacific region stood out with the most significant year-over-year improvement (+63.8 per cent), contributing to international RPKs reaching 94.5 per cent of the levels seen in November 2019.

Domestic air travel experienced a robust growth of 34.8 per cent in November 2023 compared to the same month in 2022. Furthermore, total domestic traffic for November 2023 surpassed November 2019 levels by 6.7 per cent.

China’s domestic travel exhibited exceptional recovery, soaring by an impressive 272 per cent, overcoming the travel restrictions from the previous year.

The United States witnessed a new high in domestic travel, surging by +9.1 per cent over November 2019, buoyed by strong demand during the Thanksgiving holidays.

“We are moving ever closer to surpassing the 2019 peak year for air travel,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

“Economic headwinds are not deterring people from taking to the skies. International travel remains 5.5 per cent below pre-pandemic levels but that gap is rapidly closing,” he added, noting that “domestic markets have been above their pre-pandemic levels continuously since April”.

What is more, the association said that European carriers’ November traffic climbed 14.8 per cent when compared to November 2022. In addition, capacity increased by 15.2 per cent, and load factor declined by 0.3 percentage points to 83.3 per cent.

Meanwhile, Middle Eastern airlines experienced an 18.6 per cent traffic rise in November compared to November 2022. November capacity rose by 19 per cent when compared to the year-ago period, while load factor fell 0.2 percentage points to 77.4 per cent.

“Aviation’s rapid recovery from COVID demonstrates just how important flying is to people and to businesses,” Walsh said.

“In parallel to aviation’s recovery, governments recognised the urgency of transitioning from jet fuel to Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) for aviation’s decarbonisation,” he added. Credit from Cyprus Mail

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