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Global Air Travel Reaches New Heights

US Air Travel Surpasses Pre-Pandemic Levels

Global Air Travel Reaches New Heights, US Surpasses Pre-Pandemic Levels

Recent research by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reveals that the strong post-pandemic air travel surge continued worldwide in September, with total air traffic, measured in revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs), experiencing a 30.1% global increase from September 2022. The data shows a notable recovery, reaching 97.3% of pre-pandemic levels.

In the United States, air traffic has hit a new peak, rising by 28.3% compared to last year and surpassing pre-pandemic totals by 5%. This underscores the sustained high demand for travel in the country.

Internationally, air travel has reached 93.1% of pre-pandemic levels, indicating a global resurgence in passenger confidence and mobility.

Certain regions have witnessed remarkable year-over-year gains. Airlines in the Asia-Pacific region recorded an impressive 92.6% increase, reflecting the rebound of travel across the region in 2023, especially from countries like China, where travel restrictions lasted longer than in other parts of the world.

Airlines in Africa experienced a 28.1% increase, while the Middle East and Latin America saw rises of 26.6% and 26.8%, respectively. North American airlines registered an 18.9% increase, and European airlines saw a 15.7% rise.

Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General, commented on the robust recovery: “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. 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 emphasized the challenges within the aviation industry, stating, “Supply chain issues in the aircraft manufacturing sector are unacceptable. They have held back the recovery and solutions must be found. The same holds true for infrastructure providers, particularly air navigation service providers. A successful 2024 needs the whole value chain to be fully prepared to handle the demand that is coming.”