The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has once again reported an uptick in post-pandemic passenger traffic, releasing its latest data for September.
Total traffic in September 2023 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) rose 30.1% compared to September 2022, IATA says. Globally, traffic is now at 97.3% of pre-COVID levels.
Domestic traffic hit a new high for the month of September, as traffic rose 28.3% versus September 2022 and exceeded the September 2019 level by 5.0%.
International traffic climbed 31.2% compared to the same month a year ago. All markets saw double-digit percentage gains year on year, IATA says.
“The third quarter of 2023 ended on a high note, with record domestic passenger demand for the month of September and continued strong international traffic,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General, in statement on Nov. 9.
North American carriers, for one, had an 18.9% traffic rise in September 2023 versus the 2022 period.
Capacity for that same market increased 18.0%, and load factor improved 0.6 percentage points to 85.6%.
“With the end of 2023 fast approaching, we can look back on a year of strong recovery in demand as passengers took full advantage of their freedom to travel,” Walsh said. “There is every reason to believe that this momentum can be maintained in the New Year, despite economic and political uncertainties in parts of the world.”
But “we need the whole value chain to be ready,” Walsh added.
“Supply chain issues in the aircraft manufacturing sector are unacceptable,” he said. “They have held back the recovery and solutions must be found. The same holds true for infrastructure providers, particularly air navigation service providers. Equipment failures, staffing shortages and labor unrest made it impossible to deliver the flying experience our customers expect.”
“A successful 2024 needs the whole value chain to be fully prepared to handle the demand that is coming.”