Global Airline Passenger Traffic Almost Back to 2019 Level in November

Photo by Chuttersnap on Unsplash

Global air passenger traffic was within 1 percentage point of 2019 levels in November 2023, marking a significant milestone in the industry’s post-pandemic recovery.

While international traffic lagged slightly (down 5.5%), strong domestic growth (up 6.7%) helped close the gap. Asia-Pacific airlines still lag pre-pandemic levels due to delayed lifting of travel restrictions, particularly in China. However, China’s robust domestic travel, exceeding 2019 figures by 10.9%, compensates somewhat. North American and Middle Eastern airlines have already surpassed pre-pandemic traffic levels, while Latin American carriers are close behind.

Overall, global passenger load factors reached 81.8%, exceeding 2019 numbers by 0.8 percentage points. This indicates airlines are efficiently filling available seats.

Looking ahead, IATA expects 2024 to see global passenger traffic surpass 2019 levels. However, economic headwinds remain a concern, and the industry still faces significant lost growth from the pandemic years.

On a positive note, air cargo experienced its strongest year-on-year growth in two years in November 2023, suggesting a promising year-end for the sector despite mixed economic indicators.

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