The strong recovery in air travel passenger demand continued beyond the end fo the summer, according to latest data from aviation industry group the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
IATA’s September data show total air passenger traffic grew by 57% year-on-year, meaning global traffic is now at nearly 74% of pre-Covid September 2019 levels.
European airlines saw a 78.3% rise in September traffic, with North American carriers boosting passenger numbers by nearly 129%, IATA said.
IATA director general Willie Walsh said: “Even with economic and geopolitical uncertainties, the demand for air transport continues to recover ground.”
“The outlier is still China with its pursuit of a zero COVID strategy keeping borders largely closed and creating a demand roller coaster ride for its domestic market, with September being down 46.4% on the previous year. That is in sharp contrast to the rest of Asia-Pacific, which, despite China’s dismal performance, posted a 464.8% increase for international traffic compared to the year-ago period,” Mr Walsh said.
He said strong demand is helping the industry cope with sky high fuel prices.
“To support that demand in the long-term, we need to pay attention to what travellers are telling us. After nearly three years of pandemic travel complexity, IATA’s 2022 Global Passenger Survey (GPS) shows that travellers want simplification and convenience. That’s an important message for airlines but also for airports and governments,” Mr Walsh said.
“They own many of the facilitation processes that let passengers down at some key airports over this year’s northern summer travel season. According to the GPS, a majority of passengers want to use biometric data rather than passports for border processes. And 93% of passengers are interested in trusted traveller programmes to expedite security screening. Modernising the facilitation experience will not only help alleviate the choke points, it will create a better experience for all,” said Mr Walsh.