Global air travel rises 57% in September

ANKARA (AA): Global air traffic increased 57% year-on-year in September, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Monday.

Despite a strong recovery in travel demand, global air traffic was still below 26.2% of the pre-coronavirus level, the group said in a statement.

Air traffic is measured in revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs).

International traffic more than doubled in September compared to a year ago with RPKs reaching 69.9% of the September 2019 level.

All regions posted strong growth in international air travel with Asia-Pacific seeing the strongest rise (up 464.8%) in September.

“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,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general.

Domestic air traffic rose at a softer pace, up 6.9% compared to the same month last year. However, it was at 81% of its pre-pandemic level.

Separate IATA data showed that demand for air cargo – measured in cargo ton-kilometers – decreased 10.6% year-on-year in September, but hovering near pre-pandemic levels (down 3.6%).

Capacity was up 2.4% from last year but still 7.4% below pre-pandemic levels due to contractions across major economies.

“At the macro-level, increasing recession warnings are likely to have a negative impact on the global flows of goods and services, balanced slightly by a stabilization of oil prices,” said Walsh.