Passenger traffic demand behind pre-pandemic by 26%
Despite the surge seen at global airports during the summer peak period, passenger traffic demand stil behind pre-pandemic target by 26.3 per cent.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) in its latest passenger data survey showed that the total traffic in August 2022 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was up 67.7 per cent compared to August 2021. Globally, traffic is now at 73.7 per cent of pre-crisis levels.
International traffic rose 115.6 per cent versus August 2021 with airlines in Asia delivering the strongest year-over-year growth rates. August 2022 international RPKs reached 67.4 per cent of August 2019 levels.
IATA, the clearing house for over 290 world airlines, estimated that African airlines experienced a 69.5 per cent rise in August RPKs versus a year ago.
August 2022 capacity for African airlines was up 45.3 per cent and load factor climbed 10.8 percentage points to 75.9 per cent, the lowest among regions. International traffic between Africa and neighboring regions is close to pre-pandemic levels.
IATA’s Director-General, Willie Walsh, noted that the Northern Hemisphere peak summer travel season finished on a high note.
“Considering the prevailing economic uncertainties, travel demand is progressing well. And the removal or easing of travel restrictions at some key Asian destinations, including Japan, will certainly accelerate the recovery in Asia. Mainland of China is the last major market retaining severe COVID-19 entry restrictions,” Walsh said.
More on the regional performances, Asia-Pacific airlines had a 449.2 per cent rise in August traffic compared to August 2021. Capacity rose 167.0 per cent and the load factor was up 40.1 percentage points to 78.0 per cent. While the region experienced the strongest year-over-year growth, remaining travel restrictions in China continue to hamper the overall recovery for the region.
European carriers’ August traffic climbed 78.8 per cent versus August 2021. Capacity rose 48.0 per cent, and load factor increased 14.7 percentage points to 85.5 per cent. The region had the second-highest load factor after North America.
Middle Eastern airlines’ traffic rose 144.9 per cent in August compared to August 2021. Capacity rose 72.2 per cent versus the year-ago period, and load factor climbed 23.7 percentage points to 79.8 per cent.
North American carriers saw a 110.4 per cent traffic rise in August versus the 2021 period. Capacity rose 69.7 per cent, and load factor climbed 16.9 percentage points to 87.2 per cent, which was the highest among the regions.
Latin American airlines’ August traffic rose 102.5 per cent compared to the same month in 2021. August capacity rose 80.8 per cent and load factor increased 8.9 percentage points to 83.5 per cent. Walsh added that aviation remains committed to decarbonising by 2050, in line with the Paris agreement.
However, “the energy transition required to achieve this must be supported by government policies. That is why there is such great anticipation for the 41st Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organisation to reach agreement on a Long-Term Aspirational Goal on aviation and climate change. The near grounding of aviation during the pandemic highlighted how important aviation is to the modern world. And we will take a giant step towards securing the long-term social and economic benefits of sustainable global connectivity, if the policy-vision of governments is aligned with the industry’s commitment to net zero by 2050,” Walsh said.