The strong post-pandemic air travel boom continued across the globe this September, according to research conducted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), published November 9.
Total air traffic, which is measured using revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs), rose 30.1 percent globally from September 2022. Traffic has reached 97.3 percent of pre-pandemic levels.
In the United States, air traffic reached a new high, rising 28.3 percent from last year and exceeding pre-pandemic totals by 5 percent, proving once again that the travel trend continues seeing high demand.
Internationally, air travel reached 93.1 percent of pre-pandemic levels.
Some regions of the world saw incredible year-over-year gains. Airlines in the Asia-Pacific region saw a 92.6 percent increase from September 2022, likely in part due to the resurgence of travel across the region this year compared to 2022, spurred by travelers from countries like China whose pandemic-era travel restrictions were in place far longer than in other regions of the world.
Airlines in Africa saw a 28.1 percent increase, while airlines in the Middle East saw a 26.6 percent increase in traffic. Latin America airlines saw a 26.8 percent increase. North American airlines saw an 18.9 percent increase, and European airlines saw a 15.7 percent increase.
“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,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General. “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.”
“Supply chain issues in the aircraft manufacturing sector are unacceptable,” Walsh continued. “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.”