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Friday, June 21, 2024

Air Travel Soars: Passenger Demand Up 13.8% Globally in March

Air Travel Soars: Passenger Demand Up 13.8% Globally in March

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released its latest data on global passenger demand, painting a positive picture for the aviation industry.

Demand Soars:

Passenger demand, measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs), surged by 13.8% in March 2024 compared to the same month in 2023. This growth outpaced the 12.3% increase in total capacity (available seat kilometres, ASKs), resulting in a healthier load factor of 82%, a one percentage point improvement year-on-year.

International Travel Leads the Charge:

International travel saw the most significant rise, with demand climbing 18.9% compared to March 2023. Capacity on these routes kept pace, growing by 18.8% year-on-year. This strong demand translated to a higher load factor of 81.6%, a slight increase from March 2023.

Domestic Travel Rebounds:

Domestic travel demand also showed signs of recovery, rising by 6.6% compared to March 2023. While capacity growth on domestic routes was slower at 3.4% year-on-year, the load factor jumped to 82.6%, a significant 2.5 percentage point increase.

Mixed Results for African Airlines:

While African airlines experienced an 8.1% year-on-year increase in demand, their capacity grew faster at 11% year-on-year. This imbalance resulted in a lower load factor of 70.3%, a decrease of 1.9 percentage points compared to March 2023.

Industry Calls for Smooth Operations:

Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General, expressed optimism about the strong demand for travel, expecting it to continue through the peak Northern summer season. However, he emphasized the crucial need for sufficient capacity to meet this demand and ensure a hassle-free travel experience for passengers.

Mr. Walsh urged the industry to address supply chain issues urgently and called for airports and air traffic management to optimize staffing and efficiency. He further highlighted the airlines’ frustration with bearing the cost of delays and cancellations caused by inadequate preparation in other parts of the travel sector, while airlines themselves remain committed to providing customer care and assistance during operational disruptions.

The positive trends showcased in the IATA report suggest a continued recovery for the aviation industry. However, addressing infrastructure and operational challenges will be crucial to ensuring a smooth and successful peak season.

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