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IATA Reports Record-breaking Growth in July 2023

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) revealed sustained growth momentum in passenger markets for July, post-COVID. July 2023 saw a 26.2% surge in total traffic (assessed in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) compared to July 2022, bringing global traffic to a near pre-pandemic level at 95.6%.

Domestic flights in July experienced a 21.5% increase from July 2022 and surpassed July 2019’s figures by 8.3%. This marks the highest RPKs ever recorded, with China’s domestic market significantly boosting demand.

On the international front, traffic soared by 29.6% from the previous year, with every market indicating strong growth. International RPKs approached the pre-pandemic numbers, achieving 88.7% of July 2019 levels. Notably, the industry’s passenger load factor (PLF) touched an all-time high of 85.7%, setting a record for monthly international PLF.

“Planes were full during July as people continue to travel in ever greater numbers. Importantly, forward ticket sales indicate that traveler confidence remains high. And there is every reason to be optimistic about the continuing recovery,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

July 2023 (% ch year-on-year)World share1RPKASKPLF (%-pt)2PLF (level)3
Total Market 100.0%26.2%23.7%1.7%85.2%
Africa2.1%25.0%26.3%-0.8%74.6%
Asia Pacific22.1%67.1%53.4%6.7%81.6%
Europe30.8%11.7%11.5%0.2%87.7%
Latin America6.4%15.5%11.4%3.1%86.7%
Middle East9.8%21.9%21.0%0.6%82.1%
North America28.8%13.2%11.9%1.0%89.7%

1% of industry RPKs in 2022   2year-on-year change in load factor   3Load Factor Level

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International Passenger Markets

Asia-Pacific airlines saw a 105.8% increase in July 2023 traffic compared to July 2022, continuing to lead the regions. Capacity climbed 96.2% and the load factor increased by 3.9 percentage points to 84.5%.

European carriers’ July traffic rose 13.8% versus July 2022. Capacity increased 13.6%, and load factor edged up 0.1 percentage points to 87.0%.

Middle Eastern airlines posted a 22.6% increase in July traffic compared to a year ago. Capacity rose 22.1% and load factor climbed 0.3 percentage points to 82.6%.

North American carriers had a 17.7% traffic rise in July 2023 versus the 2022 period. Capacity increased 17.2%, and load factor improved 0.3 percentage points to 90.3%, which was the highest among the regions for a second consecutive month.

Latin American airlines’ traffic rose 25.3% compared to the same month in 2022. July capacity climbed 21.2% and load factor rose 2.9 percentage points to 89.1%.

African airlines saw a 25.6% traffic increase in July 2023 versus a year ago, the second highest percentage gain among the regions. July capacity was up 27.4% and load factor fell 1.0 percentage point to 73.9%, the lowest among the regions. For a second month in a row, Africa was the only region to see capacity growth outrun traffic demand.

Domestic Passenger Markets

July 2023 (% ch year-on-year)World share1   
​​
RPKASKPLF (%-pt)2PLF (Level)3
Domestic41.9%21.5%16.7%3.3%84.5%
Australia1.0%3.5%8.5%-4.1%83.2%
Brazil1.5%3.6%-0.1%3.0%83.4%
China P.R.6.4%71.9%49.1%10.5%79.2%
India2.0%21.1%13.3%5.3%83.3%
Japan1.2%13.4%1.3%7.8%72.7%
US19.2%11.1%9.5%1.3%89.2%

 

China’s domestic traffic jumped 71.9% in July compared to a year ago and is now 22.5% above July 2019 levels, which was the strongest gain against pre-pandemic levels among the domestic markets.

US airlines’ domestic demand climbed 11.1% in July and was 3.0% above the July 2019 level.

July 2023 (% ch vs the same month in 2019)World share1RPKASKPLF (%-pt)2PLF (level)3
Total Market 100.0%-4.4%-3.9%-0.4%85.2%
International58.1%-11.3%-11.7%0.4%85.7%
Domestic41.9%8.3%10.4%-1.7%84.5%

 

“The Northern Hemisphere summer is living up to expectations for very strong traffic demand. While the industry was largely prepared to accommodate a return to pre-pandemic levels of operations, unfortunately, the same cannot be said for our infrastructure providers. Performance of some of the key air navigations services providers, for example, has been deeply disappointing for many reasons from insufficient staffing to the failure fiasco of NATS in the UK. These must be promptly corrected. Even more worrying, however, are political decisions by some governments—among them Mexico and the Netherlands—to impose capacity cuts at their major hubs that will most certainly destroy jobs and damage local and national economies. The numbers continue to tell us that people want and need air connectivity. That’s why governments should be working with us so that people can travel safely, sustainably and efficiently,” said Walsh.

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