Domestic airline ridership surpassed April 2019 levels, a first since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a global average released Thursday by the main airline association.
Expressed in revenue passenger kilometers (RPK), one of the industry benchmarks, domestic air traffic reached 102.9% of the April level four years ago, before the Covid-19 and its share of movement restrictions will not drastically reduce travel demand from March 2020, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) said in its monthly statistics release.
These ratios were boosted by the vigorous recovery of traffic in China, where the “zero Covid” policy was abandoned at the end of 2022. In RPK, the Middle Kingdom reached in April 106% of April 2019 levels, an explosion by 536% in one year. In the United States, another major domestic market, airlines recorded RPKs of 103.3% compared to the same month four years ago, according to Iata.
Slower to resume, international connections have nevertheless benefited from the reopening of China. RPKs have thus tripled over one year in the Asia-Pacific region and the global average for these journeys stands at 83.6% of RPKs in 2019.
“On a global scale, traffic is evolving at 90.5% of pre-Covid levels”, noted Iata, its general manager Willie Walsh arguing that “as the high season approaches in the hemisphere, planes and airports are filled with people eager to enjoy their freedom to travel.
These high levels are observed despite significant inflation, the high price of kerosene and the shortages of parts and labor which translate into much more expensive plane tickets than before the crisis. “But as unemployment moves to historic lows” in OECD countries, “we expect continued demand for air travel, with more and more people earning an income despite their declining employment power. purchase,” said Iata.
The organization, which is holding its general assembly from Sunday to Tuesday in Turkey, in Istanbul, must publish other statistics there, in particular on the financial situation of the airlines to which the pandemic has caused the loss of hundreds of billions of dollars.