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Global air passenger traffic now almost at pre-Covid-19 pandemic levels

26th January 2024

By: Rebecca Campbell

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Global total air passenger traffic in November last year passed 99% of the figure for November 2019, which was the last November before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, reports the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Total air passenger traffic in November was up 29.7%, year-on-year, and reached 99.1% of the figure for November 2019. International air passenger traffic rose 26.4%, year-on-year, and was 94.5% of its November 2019 level. Domestic air passenger traffic jumped 34.8%, year-on-year, and was 6.7% higher than its level in November 2019.

“We are moving ever closer to surpassing the 2019 peak year for air travel,” affirmed IATA director-general Willie Walsh. “Economic headwinds are not deterring people from taking to the skies. International travel remains 5.5% below prepandemic levels but that gap is rapidly closing. And domestic markets have been above their prepandemic levels continuously since April.”

The IATA region that saw the greatest year-on-year increase in total passenger traffic was Asia-Pacific, at 80.1%. The second-fastest growing region was Africa, at 20.3%. Then followed the Middle East (18.7%), Europe (13.6%), Latin America (12%) and North America (10.2%).

Regarding international air passenger traffic, the order was slightly different. Asia-Pacific was again ranked first, with a jump of 63.8%, and Africa was again second, at 22.1%. But third place was taken by Latin America (20%), followed by the Middle East (18.6%), Europe (14.8%) and North America (14.3%).

When it came to domestic air passenger traffic, IATA regularly monitored six major markets: Australia, Brazil, China, India, Japan, and the US. Of these, China recorded by far the greatest y-o-y increase in November – a massive 272%. IATA credited this to the recovery of the Chinese market from Covid restrictions that had still been in place in November 2022.

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

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