Well, well, well. Look who’s back in the game! The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced on Wednesday that global air demand and full-year 2023 traffic are strutting their stuff like it’s 2019 all over again.
In December of our glorious year 2023, total demand increased by a whopping 25.3 percent compared to last year and was at an impressive 97.5 percent of those good old pre-pandemic days in December ’19. And for the entire year? Demand soared up by a staggering 36.9 percent from its previous slump in ’22, reaching a near-perfect score of being just shy off the mark at 94.1% of what we saw in ‘19.
The domestic scene wasn’t too shabby either – with December traffic showing off with a cool increase of about… oh let’s say around…27%! That puts us comfortably above where we were this time two years ago – yes folks, you heard right: We’re talking about numbers higher than even before COVID-19 decided to crash our party!
As for international travel? Well my friends, things have been looking pretty rosy there as well! In fact, they’ve jumped up so high; I think they might need oxygen masks soon! With an increase of almost one-quarter more passengers flying internationally compared to last year – hitting nearly ninety-five big ones outta hundred when matched against Dec’19 levels.
And who’s leading the charge in this international travel resurgence? None other than our friends over at Asia-Pacific! They’ve been busy bees, with traffic up by a staggering 56.9 percent year on year and capacity not far behind at 56.3 percent.
The United States wasn’t about to be left out of all the fun either – they reported positive levels above those seen in ’19: A solid increase of 1.4% for demand and a modest but still impressive rise of 0.7% for capacity.
Meanwhile, China was flexing its muscles domestically too – showing off triple-digit percentage growth compared to last year in both traffic and capacity!
All domestic markets have shown increases when comparing ‘23 with ’22; only Australia and Japan were playing hard-to-get, lagging slightly behind pre-pandemic levels for traffic and capacity.
IATA director general Willie Walsh chimed in saying governments need to step it up if we want air travel benefits post-pandemic (read between the lines folks: more holidays!). He suggests providing cost-efficient infrastructure, incentivizing sustainable aviation fuel production (because let’s face it, Mother Earth isn’t getting any younger), adopting regulations that deliver clear cost-benefit… you know just your everyday governmental tasks!
IATA: November Air Demand Nearly Back To The Good Ol’ Days
IATA: December Air Demand Continues Recovery