Global passenger traffic strong in September

SINGAPORE, 9 November 2022: Recovery in air travel continues to be strong according to International Air Transport Association (IATA) passenger data for September 2022, released Monday.

Total traffic in September 2022 (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) rose 57.0% compared to September 2021. Globally, traffic is now at 73.8% of September 2019 levels.

Domestic traffic for September 2022 was up 6.9% compared to the year-ago period. Total September 2022 domestic traffic stood at 81% of the September 2019 level.

International traffic climbed 122.2% versus September 2021. September 2022 international RPKs reached 69.9% of September 2019 levels. All markets reported strong growth, led by Asia-Pacific.

“Even with economic and geopolitical uncertainties, the demand for air transport continues to recover ground. The outlier is still China, pursuing a zero Covid strategy to keep borders closed and creating a demand roller coaster ride for its domestic market. September was down 46.4% from the previous year. That is in sharp contrast to the rest of Asia-Pacific, which, despite China’s dismal performance, posted a 464.8% increase for international traffic compared to the year-ago period,” said IATA’s director general Willie Walsh.

International Passenger Markets

Asia-Pacific airlines saw a 464.8% rise inSeptember traffic compared to September 2021, the strongest year-over-year rate among the regions. Capacity rose 165.3%, and the load factor was up 41.5 percentage points to 78.3%.

European carriers’ Septembertraffic climbed 78.3% versus September 2021. Capacity increased by 43.8%, and the load factor increased by 16.3 percentage points to 84.1%, the second highest among the regions.

Middle Eastern airlines posted a 149.7% traffic rise in September compared to September 2021. September capacity increased 63.5% versus the year-ago period, and the load factor climbed 27.6 percentage points to 80.0%.

North American carriers hada 128.9% traffic rise in September versus the 2021 period. Capacity increased 63.0%, and the load factor climbed 24.6 percentage points to 85.4%, the highest among the regions for a fourth consecutive month.

Latin American airlines’ September traffic rose 99.4% compared to the same month in 2021. September capacity climbed 73.7%, and the load factor increased 10.8 percentage points to 83.5%.

African airlines saw a90.5% rise in September RPKs versus a year ago. September 2022 capacity was up 47.2%, and the load factor climbed 16.7 percentage points to 73.6%, the lowest among regions.

The Bottom Line

“Strong demand is helping the industry cope with sky-high fuel prices. To support that demand in the long term, we must pay attention to what travellers tell us. After nearly three years of pandemic travel complexity, IATA’s 2022 Global Passenger Survey (GPS) shows that travellers want simplification and convenience. That’s an important message for airlines but also for airports and governments. They own many facilitation processes that let passengers down at key airports during this year’s northern summer travel season. According to the GPS, most passengers want to use biometric data rather than passports for border processes. And 93% of passengers are interested in trusted traveller programs to expedite security screening. Modernising the facilitation experience will not only help alleviate the choke points, but it will also create a better experience for all,” Walsh concluded.

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