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IATA passenger data shows air travel recovery in September, Asia-Pacific leading growth chart

The recovery in air travel remains strong, according to September 2022 data published by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Total September 2022 traffic (measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometers, or RPK) increased by 57 percent compared to September 2021. Globally, traffic is now at 73.8 percent of September 2019 levels.

International traffic increased by 122.2 percent from September 2021. In September 2022, international RPKs reached 69.9 percent of September 2019 levels. All markets showed strong growth, led by the Asia-Pacific region.

Asia-Pacific airlines saw a 464.8% increase in traffic in September compared to September 2021, the strongest year-on-year pace among the regions. Capacity increased by 165.3 percent and utilization increased by 41.5 percentage points to 78.3 percent.

European carriers’ September traffic increased by 78.3 percent compared to September 2021. Capacity increased by 43.8 percent and load factor increased by 16.3 percentage points to 84.1 percent, the second highest among regions.

Airlines in the Middle East saw traffic increase by 149.7 percent in September compared to September 2021. September capacity increased by 63.5 percent year-on-year and load factor increased by 27.6 percentage points to 80 percent.

North American carriers saw a 128.9 percent increase in traffic in September compared to the 2021 period. Capacity increased by 63.0 percent and load factor increased by 24.6 percentage points to 85.4 percent, which was the highest among regions for the fourth consecutive month, according to the IATA report.

Latin American airline traffic rose 99.4 percent in September compared to the same month in 2021. Capacity rose 73.7 percent in September and load increased 10.8 percentage points to 83.5 percent.

African airlines saw 90.5 percent increase in RPK in September compared to the previous year. September 2022 capacity increased by 47.2 percent and utilization increased by 16.7 percentage points to 73.6 percent, the lowest among regions.

Domestic traffic for September 2022 was up 6.9 percent year-over-year. Total domestic traffic in September 2022 was at 81 percent of September 2019 levels, the report added.

“Despite economic and geopolitical uncertainty, demand for air transport continues to recover. The outlier is still China, with its push for a zero-Covid strategy, keeping borders largely closed and creating a demand roller coaster for its domestic market, with September down 46.4 percent from a year earlier. This is in stark contrast to the rest of Asia and the Pacific, which despite China’s dismal performance saw a 464.8 percent increase in international traffic compared to a year ago,” said Willie Walsh, IATA Director General.

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