IATA: Global domestic air demand ‘slipped’ in October

Global air passenger traffic continued its recovery in October, but domestic demand “slipped” slightly compared to October 2021, the International Air Transport Association said, while international traffic was pending.

Total October traffic, measured in revenue passenger kilometers, increased 44.6 percent year-on-year. Compared to October 2019, traffic has now recovered to 74.2 percent from 73.8 percent in September. Total capacity, measured in available seat kilometers, increased by 23.9 percent year-on-year to 74.3 percent in October 2019, slightly higher than last month’s recovery rate (74.1 percent). Load factor was 82 percent, which was 11.8 percentage points higher than the same period last year.

“Traditionally, by October we are in the slow autumn travel season in the Northern Hemisphere, so it is very reassuring that demand and bookings continue to be strong,” IATA Director General Willie Walsh said in a statement. “People are enjoying the freedom to travel, and businesses are recognizing the importance of air travel to their success.”

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According to IATA, China’s “tough” travel policy continues to reduce global figures. Total domestic traffic fell by 0.8 percent in October versus October 2021 and capacity contracted by 7.4 percent. Domestic traffic was 77.9 percent in October 2019 compared to 81 percent in September.

China’s domestic traffic fell 69.4 percent compared to October 2019, down 60.5 percent in September. Australia continued to lead in terms of year-on-year traffic growth, followed by Japan, but both were lower than October 2021 figures. The US leads the recovery figures with domestic traffic down just 0.8 percent and capacity down just 4.2 percent compared to October 2019. Compared to October 2019, Brazil recovery traffic was down just 7.2 percent and capacity was down 1.2 percent.

International October 2022 traffic doubled year-on-year (102.4 percent), capacity increased by 57.1 percent. Despite China’s continued weak performance, the Asia-Pacific showed the largest gains (440.4 percent) following the reopening of many Asian economies, resulting in bookings for international travel rising to 75 percent of pre-pandemic levels, IATA said. Compared to October 2019 levels, international traffic recovered 72.1 percent, while capacity recovered 71.4 percent.

“In a recent survey of European business leaders doing business across borders, 84 percent could not imagine doing so without aviation networks, and 89 percent said being close to an airport with global connections gave them a competitive advantage,” said Walsh. “Governments need to heed the message that air travel is fundamental to how we live and work.”

Related: IATA: ‘Stronger’ September winds expected out of China

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