Air travel high on recovery path

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has shared that air travel recovery across the world continued through November 2022, with India’s domestic recovery catching up with 2019 numbers soon.

TT Bureau

IATA has revealed that the total traffic in November 2022 (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) rose 41.3 per cent compared to November 2021. Globally, traffic is now at 75.3 per cent of November 2019 levels. International traffic rose 85.2 per cent versus November 2021. The Asia-Pacific continued to report the strongest year-over-year results with all regions showing improvement compared to the last year. November 2022 international RPKs reached 73.7 per cent of November 2019 levels.

Domestic traffic for November 2022 was up 3.4 per cent compared to November 2021 with travel restrictions in China continuing to dampen the global result. Total November 2022 domestic traffic was at 77.7 per cent of the November 2019 level.

In India, domestic RPKs increased by 11.1 per cent YoY and ASKs by 0.5 per cent. November RPKs were 12.2 per cent short of 2019 results, it was revealed.

“Traffic results in November reinforce that consumers are thoroughly enjoying the freedom to travel. Unfortunately, the reactions to China’s reopening of international travel in January reminds us that many governments are still playing science politics when it comes to COVID-19 and travel. Epidemiologists, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and others have said that the reintroduction of testing for travellers from China can do little to contain a virus that is already present around the world. And China’s objections to these policy measures are compromised by their own pre-departure testing requirements for people traveling to China. Governments should focus on using available tools to manage COVID-19 effectively —including improved therapeutics and vaccinations — rather than repeating policies that have failed time and again over the last three years,” said Willie Walsh, Director General, IATA.

Rise in seat capacity, strong recovery trend persists

All regions experienced a modest positive development in seat capacity, lifting industry-wide seat capacity increased slightly in November 2022 in seasonally adjusted terms compared to October. This contrasts with the light contraction in global seat capacity observed previously.

Cabin classes

Recovery trends for international traffic in the Premium and Economy cabin classes remain broadly aligned. Economy class RPKs – which include premium economy (and accounts for 92 per cent of total RPKs) – reached 79.6 per cent of their January 2020 level in July 2022. Premium RPKs – which capture travel in first and business class cabins – fared nearly as well at 74.2 per cent of the January 2020 level. Latest IATA figures show a minor divergence in the recovery between cabin classes. Such divergences are frequently observed during high and low activity periods. Travel in Economy tends to lead during the northern hemisphere’s summer, and lag during the winter months.



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