The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has reported that the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic gained further momentum in July, particularly in the passenger markets.
In July 2023, the total air traffic, measured in revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs), surged by 26.2% compared to the same month in 2022. Globally, air traffic has now reached 95.6% of the levels seen before the pandemic.
For domestic travel in July, there was a notable increase of 21.5% compared to July 2022, surpassing the results of July 2019 by 8.3%. This impressive growth in RPKs for July was largely attributed to the strong demand observed in the Chinese domestic market.
International air travel also saw a significant boost with a 29.6% increase compared to July of the previous year, and international RPKs reached 88.7% of the levels recorded in July 2019. Remarkably, the passenger load factor (PLF) for international flights hit a record high of 85.7% for the month.
Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General, expressed optimism about the ongoing recovery, emphasizing that planes were operating at full capacity in July, indicating strong traveler confidence. He noted that forward ticket sales remained promising.
Detailed Air Passenger Market Statistics for July 2023:
- World Share: 100%
- Year-on-Year RPK Growth: 26.2%
- Year-on-Year PLF Growth: 1.7%
- PLF Level: 85.2%
- Africa: RPKs increased by 25.0%, PLF decreased by 0.8% to 74.6%.
- Asia Pacific: RPKs surged by 67.1%, PLF increased by 6.7% to 81.6%.
- Europe: RPKs grew by 11.7%, with a minor PLF increase to 87.7%.
- Latin America: RPKs rose by 15.5%, PLF increased by 3.1% to 86.7%.
- Middle East: RPKs increased by 21.9%, PLF grew by 0.6% to 82.1%.
- North America: RPKs increased by 13.2%, PLF grew by 1.0% to 89.7%.
In the International Passenger Markets:
- Asia-Pacific airlines: RPKs rose by 105.8%, and the PLF reached 84.5%.
- European carriers: RPKs increased by 13.8%, and the PLF reached 87.0%.
- Middle Eastern airlines: RPKs increased by 22.6%, and the PLF reached 82.6%.
- North American carriers: RPKs increased by 17.7%, with a PLF of 90.3%.
- Latin American airlines: RPKs rose by 25.3%, with a PLF of 89.1%.
- African airlines: RPKs increased by 25.6%, with a PLF of 73.9%.
In the Domestic Passenger Markets:
- World Share: 41.9%
- Year-on-Year RPK Growth: 21.5%
- Year-on-Year PLF Growth: 3.3%
- PLF Level: 84.5%
- Dom. Australia: RPKs increased by 3.5%, PLF decreased by 4.1% to 83.2%.
- Dom. Brazil: RPKs increased by 3.6%, with a PLF of 83.4%.
- Dom. China P.R.: RPKs surged by 71.9%, with a PLF of 79.2%.
- Dom. India: RPKs increased by 21.1%, with a PLF of 83.3%.
- Dom. Japan: RPKs increased by 13.4%, with a PLF of 72.7%.
- Dom. USA: RPKs grew by 11.1%, with a PLF of 89.2%.
Additional Air Passenger Market Overview for July 2023:
- Total Market RPK Growth vs. July 2019: -4.4%
- Total Market PLF Growth vs. July 2019: -0.4%
- International RPK Growth vs. July 2019: -11.3%
- International PLF Growth vs. July 2019: 0.4%
- Domestic RPK Growth vs. July 2019: 8.3%
- Domestic PLF Growth vs. July 2019: 10.4%
In conclusion, the summer season in the Northern Hemisphere witnessed robust demand for air travel. While the aviation industry was ready to accommodate the return to pre-pandemic levels, challenges persisted in infrastructure and government decisions affecting capacity. Willie Walsh emphasized the importance of collaboration between airlines and governments to ensure safe, sustainable, and efficient air connectivity.