September Passenger Demand Provides Solid End to Third Quarter

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September Passenger Demand Provides Solid End to Third Quarter
9 November 2023
Geneva – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that the strong post-pandemic passenger traffic trend continued in September.

• Total traffic in September 2023 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs)
rose 30.1% compared to September 2022. Globally, traffic is now at 97.3% of pre-COVID levels.

• Domestic traffic hit a new high for the month of September, as traffic rose 28.3% versus September 2022 and exceeded the September 2019 level by 5.0%.

• International traffic climbed 31.2% compared to the same month a year ago. All markets saw double-digit percentage gains year on year. International RPKs reached
93.1% of September 2019 levels.

“The third quarter of 2023 ended on a high note, with record domestic passenger demand for the month of September and continued strong international traffic,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
Air passenger market in detail – September 2023
September 2023
(% year-on-year)World share1RPKASKPLF (%-pt)2PLF (level)3Total Market100.0%30.1%28.8%0.8%82.6%Africa2.1%24.6%27.2%-1.5%73.1%Asia Pacific22.1%87.9%75.5%5.3%80.0%Europe30.8%13.8%12.8%0.8%86.0%Latin America6.4%15.7%14.3%1.1%83.9%Middle East9.8%26.1%22.8%2.2%81.6%North America28.8%9.7%12.5%-2.1%83.0%
1% of industry RPKs in 2022    2Change in load factor    3Load factor level
International Passenger MarketsAsia-Pacific airlines had a 92.6% increase in September 2023 traffic compared to September 2022, continuing to lead the regions in terms of annual improvement. Capacity climbed 82.1% and the load factor increased by 4.5 percentage points to 82.5%.

European carriers’ September traffic climbed 15.7% versus September 2022. Capacity increased 14.9%, and load factor edged up 0.6 percentage points to 85.5%.

Middle Eastern airlines saw a 26.6% increase in September traffic compared to a year ago. Capacity rose 23.7% and load factor climbed 1.9 percentage points to 81.8%.

North American carriers had an 18.9% traffic rise in September 2023 versus the 2022 period. Capacity increased 18.0%, and load factor improved 0.6 percentage points to 85.6%.

Latin American airlines’ traffic rose 26.8% compared to the same month in 2022. September capacity climbed 24.7% and load factor rose 1.4 percentage points to 85.8%.

African airlines posted a 28.1% traffic increase in September 2023 versus a year ago. Capacity was up 29.9% and load factor slipped 1.0 percentage points to 72.6%.
Domestic Passenger Markets
Air passenger market in detail – September 2023
September 2023
(% year-on-year)World share1RPKASKPLF (%-pt)2PLF (level)3Domestic41.9%28.3%28.2%0.1%80.7%Dom. Australia4  1.0%7.2%11.7%-3.6%84.7%Dom. Brazil4  1.5%5.0%3.9%0.8%81.4%Dom. China P.R.4  6.4%168.7%135.2%9.6%76.7%Dom. India4  2.0%17.2%13.0%3.1%84.7%Dom. Japan4  1.2%19.9%4.3%9.7%74.9%Dom. US4  19.2%5.5%10.4%-3.8%81.3%
1% of industry RPKs in 2022    2Change in load factor    3Load factor level
4 Note: the six domestic passenger markets for which broken-down data are available account for approximately 31.3% of global total RPKs and 74.6% of total domestic RPKs
China’s domestic market continued to perform, with demand up 168.7% year over year. This growth however is measured from a low base in September 2022, when domestic travel restrictions were reintroduced in some Chinese provinces.

Japan’s domestic traffic rebounded strongly from the impact of typhoons in August, as RPKs rose 19.9% compared to September 2022.
Air passenger market in detail – September 2023
September 2023
(% ch vs the same month in 2019)World share1RPKASKPLF (%-pt)2PLF (level)3Total Market100%-2.7%-3.5%0.7%82.6%International58.1%-6.9%-9.2%2.1%83.8%Domestic41.9%5.0%7.1%-1.6%80.7%
1% of industry RPKs in 2022    2Change in load factor    3Load factor level
The Bottom Line“With the end of 2023 fast approaching, we can look back on a year of strong recovery in demand as passengers took full advantage of their freedom to travel. There is every reason to believe that this momentum can be maintained in the New Year, despite economic and political uncertainties in parts of the world. But we need the whole value chain to be ready. Supply chain issues in the aircraft manufacturing sector are unacceptable. They have held back the recovery and solutions must be found. The same holds true for infrastructure providers, particularly air navigation service providers. Equipment failures, staffing shortages and labor unrest made it impossible to deliver the flying experience our customers expect. A successful 2024 needs the whole value chain to be fully prepared to handle the demand that is coming,” said Walsh.

Read the latest passenger market analysis
– IATA -For more information, please contact: 
Email: iata-spa@llyc.global

Notes for Editors:
• IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 300 airlines comprising 83% of global air traffic.

• You can follow us at https://go.updates.iata.org/e/123902/iata/j2h9b7/1606555656/h/5_C6qqHt3fcrjbq9zsPm-T5ajrGeAJzLYr27ti5Vkjs for announcements, policy positions, and other useful industry information.

• Statistics compiled by IATA Economics using direct airline reporting complemented by estimates, including the use of FlightRadar24 data provided under license.

• All figures are provisional and represent total reporting at time of publication plus estimates for missing data. Historic figures are subject to revision.

• Domestic RPKs accounted for about 41.9% of the total market in 2022. The six domestic markets in this report account for 31.3% of global RPKs.

• Explanation of measurement terms:
o RPK: Revenue Passenger Kilometers measures actual passenger traffic
o ASK: Available Seat Kilometers measures available passenger capacity
o PLF: Passenger Load Factor is % of ASKs used.

• IATA statistics cover international and domestic scheduled air traffic for IATA member and non-member airlines.

• Total passenger traffic market shares by region of carriers for 2022 in terms of RPK are: Asia-Pacific 22.1%, Europe 30.8%, North America 28.8%, Middle East 9.8%, Latin America 6.4%, and Africa 2.1%.