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Seasonal travel demand stronger than expected

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) this week said that the recovery in international air travel continued in October, with total traffic during that time rising by 44.6 per cent compared to October of the previous year.

In addition, global air traffic, measured by taking into account the revenue generated from each passenger kilometre travelled, currently stands at 74.2 per cent of the total traffic recorded during October of 2019, the last year before the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Traditionally, by October we are into the slower autumn travel season in the Northern Hemisphere, so it is highly reassuring to see demand and forward bookings continuing to be so strong. It bodes well for the coming winter season and the ongoing recovery,” IATA Director General Willie Walsh said.

“People are enjoying the freedom to travel, and businesses recognise the importance of air transport to their success,” Walsh added.

According to the association, domestic traffic for October 2022 fell by 0.8 per cent compared to the same month in 2021.

This was primarily attributed to strict pandemic-related travel restrictions in Asia which ultimately dented global air traffic figures.

Moreover, total domestic traffic in October 2022 was at 77.9 per cent of the total traffic recorded in October 2019, while domestic forward bookings were at approximately 70 per cent of their pre-pandemic level.

In terms of international traffic in October 2022, this increased by a massive 102.4 per cent year-on-year. versus October 2021.

October 2022 international RPKs reached 72.1 per cent of October 2019 levels with all markets recording strong growth, led by Asia-Pacific.

What is more, forward bookings for international travel rose to approximately 75 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, boosted by the recent re-openings announced by several Asian countries.

“A recent survey of European business leaders doing business across borders showed that 84 per cent could not imagine doing so without access to air transport networks and 89 per cent believed being close to an airport with global connections gave them a competitive advantage,” Walsh said.

“Governments need to pay attention to the message that air travel is fundamental to how we live and work; that reality should drive policies to enable aviation to operate as efficiently as possible while supporting the industry’s 2050 Net Zero emission goals with meaningful incentives to encourage the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuels,” the IATA Director General added.

Regarding international passenger markets, European carriers’ October traffic rose by 60.8 per cent versus October 2021.

In addition, capacity grew by 34.7 per cent, while carriers’ load factor increased by 13.8 percentage points to 84.8 per cent, the second highest among all regions.

Meanwhile, Middle Eastern airlines experienced a massive 114.7 per cent year-on-year traffic increase in October.

Finally, carriers’ capacity increased by 55.7 per cent compared to a year ago, while their load factor rose by 21.8 percentage points to 79.5 per cent.

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