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IATA Reports on Strong Northern Summer Demand

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has reported a consistent recovery trend for passenger markets in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, with June recording a particularly strong performance.

  • June 2023 witnessed a significant 31.0% rise in total traffic, measured in revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs), compared to June 2022. As a result, global traffic is now at an impressive 94.2% of pre-COVID levels. Furthermore, the first half of 2023 saw total traffic increase by a robust 47.2% compared to the same period in the previous year.
  • Domestic traffic in June also demonstrated strong growth, with a 27.2% rise compared to June 2022 and a 5.1% increase over June 2019. The first half of 2023 recorded a 33.3% uplift in domestic demand from the previous year.
  • International traffic experienced a remarkable surge, climbing 33.7% versus June 2022. All markets reported robust growth, with International RPKs reaching 88.2% of June 2019 levels. Additionally, international traffic in the first half of 2023 was up by a substantial 58.6% from the first half of 2022.

Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General, noted the robust start to the northern summer travel season.

“The northern summer travel season got off to a strong start in June, with double-digit demand growth and average load factors topping 84%. Planes are full, which is good news for airlines, local economies, and travel and tourism dependent jobs. All benefit from the industry’s ongoing recovery,” said Walsh.

International Passenger Markets

June 2023 (% year-on-year)World share1RPKASKPLF (%-pt)2PLF (level)3
Total Market100.0%31.0%28.8%1.4%84.2%
Asia Pacific22.1%90.1%73.3%7.1%80.4%
Latin America6.4%18.7%17.1%1.1%82.5%
Middle East9.8%28.3%24.5%2.4%79.4%
North America28.8%12.9%13.8%-0.7%88.7%

1% of industry RPKs in 2022   2year-on-year change in load factor   3Load Factor Level

According to the latest report by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), airlines in different regions experienced varying growth rates in June 2023 compared to the same month in the preceding year.

    • Leading the pack, Asia-Pacific airlines saw a staggering 128.1% traffic increase. The load factor also improved by 4.6 percentage points to 82.9% as capacity soared by 115.6%.
    • On the other hand, European carriers reported a more modest 14.0% rise in traffic. Despite this, they boasted the second-highest load factor at 87.8%, a 1.1 percentage point increase, thanks to a 12.6% capacity rise.
    • Middle Eastern airlines also experienced significant growth, with June traffic up by 29.2% from the previous year. Correspondingly, capacity rose 25.9%, and the load factor improved to 79.8%, a 2.0 percentage point increase.
    • North American carriers witnessed a 23.3% traffic increase. They also held the highest load factor among the regions at 90.2%, a 2.7 percentage point increase, following a 19.5% rise in capacity.
    • Latin American airlines posted a 25.8% traffic increase. Concurrently, the load factor rose slightly by 0.6 percentage points to 84.8% as capacity climbed 25.0%.
    • Finally, African airlines’ traffic was up by 34.7%, the second-highest percentage gain among the regions. However, it’s worth noting that despite a 44.8% capacity increase, the load factor fell by 5.1 percentage points to 68.1%, marking the only decline in the monthly international load factor compared to the previous year.

The IATA report reveals strong demand during the northern summer, with particularly robust growth in the Asia-Pacific region. However, the decline in load factor for African airlines indicates challenges that need to be addressed.

Domestic Passenger Markets

June 2023 (% year-on-year)World share1
RPKASKPLF (%-pt)2PLF (Level)3
China P.R.6.4%129.6%95.7%11.4%77.2%

1% of industry RPKs in 2022   2year-on-year change in load factor 3Load Factor Level

  • In contrast to other markets, Australia experienced a 1.7% decline in domestic traffic in June compared to the same month of the previous year. Despite this downturn, traffic levels remained 3.9% higher than those recorded before the pandemic.
  • On a promising note, Indian domestic airline demand showed substantial growth, rising by 14.8% in June. This figure surpasses the demand recorded in June 2019 by 1.3%, indicating a strong recovery.
June 2023 (% ch vs the same month in 2019)World share1RPKASKPLF (%-pt)2PLF (level)3
Total Market100.0%-5.8%-5.5%-0.2%84.2%

Key Takeaway

“As strong as travel demand has been, arguably, it could be even stronger. Demand is outrunning capacity growth. Well documented problems in the aviation supply chain mean that many airlines have not taken delivery of all the new, more environmentally friendly aircraft they had expected, while numerous aircraft are parked awaiting critical spare parts. And, for the fleet that is in service, some air navigation service providers (ANSPs) are failing to deliver the requisite capacity and resilience to meet travel demand. Delays and trimmed schedules are frustrating for both passengers and their airlines. Governments cannot continue to ignore the accountability of ANSPs in places where passenger rights regimes place the brunt of accountability on airlines,” said Walsh. 

Read the latest Passenger Market Analysis (pdf)


  • IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 300 airlines, comprising 83% of global air traffic.
  • Follow 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 42.1% of the total market; the 6 domestic markets in this report accounted for 31.3% of global RPKs in 2022.
  • Explanation of measurement terms:
    • RPK: Revenue Passenger Kilometers measures actual passenger traffic
    • ASK: Available Seat Kilometers measures available passenger capacity
    • 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%.
  • Learn more about the airline industry’s Fly Net Zero commitment

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