Global air traffic demand was around 15 per cent below 2019 levels in February, although the recovery in international air traffic was still more than 20 per cent behind pre-Covid figures.
The latest update from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) revealed that global international traffic in February was up by 89.7 per cent on the same month in 2022 and had returned to 77.5 per cent of 2019 levels.
Meanwhile February’s global domestic traffic, as measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs), increased by 25.2 per cent year-on-year and was at 97.2 per cent of February 2019's figures.
Total global air traffic, including both domestic and international flights, increased by 55.5 per cent in February compared with last year and was at 84.9 per cent of February 2019 levels, which was a slight increase from January's 84.2 per cent recovery rate.
Global airline capacity, as measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), was up 35.7 per cent year-on-year, while passenger load factor was 9.9 percentage points higher than a year ago at 77.8 per cent.
“Despite the uncertain economic signals, demand for air travel continues to be strong across the global and particularly in the Asia Pacific region," said IATA’s director general Willie Walsh in a statement.
“The industry is now just about 15 per cent below 2019 levels of demand, and that gap is narrowing each month.”
Total demand for European airlines was up 44.1 per cent year-on-year as capacity rose by 27.9 per cent. Passenger load factor increased by 8.5 percentage points to 75.2 per cent – although this was the lowest level among all regions.
International passenger load factors were higher in most regions than they were in 2019, except for North America and Europe, where capacity recovery has outpaced the growth in demand, according to IATA.
The Asia Pacific region saw the sharpest recovery in February compared to the previous year, with total demand rising by 105.4 per cent as major countries in the region finally removed their Covid-19 travel restrictions.