In a significant step towards restoring the aviation industry, May witnessed a remarkable rebound in global air demand, approaching levels last seen before the pandemic, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Total May traffic, measured by revenue passenger kilometers, surged by an impressive 39.1 percent compared to the previous year, reaching a remarkable 96.1 percent of May 2019 levels. This resurgence was fueled by a substantial increase in capacity, which grew by 35 percent year over year. The industry load factor, a key indicator of efficiency, rose by 2.4 percentage points compared to May 2022, reaching an impressive 81.8 percent. Notably, North American carriers led the way with a load factor of 86.3 percent, closely followed by European carriers at 84.8 percent.
International air travel experienced a substantial rebound in May, with a remarkable year-over-year increase of 40.9 percent, reaching an impressive 90.8 percent of May 2019 levels. Encouragingly, both North America and the Middle East surpassed pre-pandemic levels, showcasing a robust recovery in these regions. Meanwhile, domestic traffic also demonstrated strong growth, soaring by 36.4 percent compared to May 2022 and surpassing May 2019 levels by 5.3 percent. This marked the second consecutive month where domestic demand outpaced pre-pandemic levels, signaling a promising trend in the resurgence of air travel.
“We saw more good news in May. Planes were full,” IATA director general Willie Walsh remarked.
As the world gradually emerges from the grips of the pandemic, these positive figures indicate a remarkable recovery in the aviation industry. The consistent growth in passenger demand and increased load factors demonstrate the rising confidence among travelers to explore both domestic and international destinations once again. Airlines worldwide are poised to capitalize on this upward trajectory and continue the journey towards a full-fledged restoration of global air travel.