Aviation News

Air travel touched 99% of pre-Covid traffic in November 2023: IATA, ET Infra


MUMBAI: Asia- Pacific airlines witnessed a 63.8% growth in passenger traffic in November 2023 compared to November 2022, registering the strongest year-over-year rate among regions, according to the November traffic report released by airlines trade body, the International Air Transport Association (IATA). When compared to pre-pandemic, globally, traffic is now at 99.1% of November 2019 levels.

“Globally, total traffic(domestic + international) in November 2023 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) rose 29.7% compared to November 2022,” it said. RPK is an aviation industry metric to gauge demand; it is calculated by multiplying total revenue paying passengers and the distance they travelled in kilometres.

Asia-Pacific airlines increased capacity by 58 %, which coupled with an increased demand for air travel took the passenger load factor up 2.9 percentage points to 82.6% for Asia Pacific airlines. In India though, passenger load factor was 86.2 %, which was a 1.5 % drop in loads as compared to November 2022, said IATA.

Domestic traffic accounts for 41.9% and international, for the remaining 58.9 % of the global market.

India’s domestic market accounts for 2 % of the global market. In India, RPKs grew by 10.9 % in November 2023 versus November 2022. Airlines increased capacity by 12.9 % in November last year when compared to November 2022.

Globally, international traffic rose 26.4% versus November 2022. “The Asia-Pacific region continued to report the strongest year-over-year results (+63.8%) with all regions showing improvement compared to the prior year. November 2023 international RPKs reached 94.5% of November 2019 levels,” it said. Domestic traffic for November 2023 was up 34.8% compared to November 2022. Total November 2023 domestic traffic was 6.7% above the November 2019 level. “Growth was particularly strong in China (+272%) as it recovered from the COVID travel restrictions that were still in place a year ago. US domestic travel, benefiting from strong Thanksgiving holidays demand, reached a new high, expanding +9.1% over November 2019,” IATA added.Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General said: “We are moving ever closer to surpassing the 2019 peak year for air travel. Economic headwinds are not deterring people from taking to the skies. International travel remains 5.5% below pre-pandemic levels but that gap is rapidly closing. And domestic markets have been above their pre-pandemic levels continuously since April.”

“Aviation’s rapid recovery from COVID demonstrates just how important flying is to people and to businesses. In parallel to aviation’s recovery, governments recognized the urgency of transitioning from jet fuel to Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) for aviation’s decarbonization. The Third Conference on Aviation Alternative Fuels (CAAF/3) in November saw governments agree that we should see 5% carbon savings by 2030 from SAF. This was followed up at COP28 in December where governments agreed that we need a broad transition from fossil fuels to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Airlines don’t need convincing. They agreed to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and every drop of SAF ever made in that effort has been bought and used. There simply is not enough SAF being produced. So we look to 2024 to be the year when governments follow-up on their own declarations and finally deliver comprehensive policy measures to incentivize the rapid scaling-up of SAF production,” said Walsh.

  • Published On Jan 10, 2024 at 05:56 PM IST

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