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IATA Reports Strong Air Travel Demand Strong In January

The IATA January 2024 passenger traffic report shows strong global demand for air travel.

cabin of aircraft with passengers on board
Photo by Natã Romualdo on
  • Overall demand grew by 16.6%, with a 14.1% increase in capacity and an average load factor of 79.9%.
  • The international sector saw a 20.8% rise in demand with a corresponding increase in capacity, maintaining the load factor at 79.7%.
  • Domestic demand saw a 10.4% growth, overtaking capacity growth, which was 4.6%, leading to an 80.2% load factor

“2024 is off to a strong start despite economic and geopolitical uncertainties. As governments look to build prosperity in their economies in the busiest election-year ever, it is critical that they see aviation as a catalyst for growth. Increased taxes and onerous regulation are a counterweight to prosperity. We will be looking to governments for policies that help aviation to reduce costs, improve efficiency and make progress towards net zero CO2 emissions by 2050,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

International Passenger Markets

January 2024 saw significant growth in air traffic compared to the previous year, with remarkable recovery rates among various carriers.

Asia-Pacific airlines experienced a sharp 45.4% increase in traffic, mainly due to China’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions. Despite solid growth, recovery on major international routes within the region is still behind, except for the Asia-Middle East route, which has surpassed pre-pandemic levels. Capacity increased by 48.1%, and the load factor fell by 1.5 percentage points to 82.6%.

European carriers reported a moderate 10.8% rise in traffic, with a notable rebound in the Europe-North America route, now 6.5% above January 2020 levels. Capacity increased by 10.7%, and the load factor increased by 0.1 percentage point to 77.3%.

Middle Eastern airlines also saw growth, with a 16.2% increase in traffic, a 15.7% rise in capacity, and a 0.4 percentage point growth in load factor to 79.9%.

North American carriers experienced a 12.3% rise in traffic, a 13.7% increase in capacity, and a 1.0 percentage point drop in the load factor to 79.4%.

Latin American airlines recorded a 17.9% increase in traffic and the highest load factor at 86%, indicating strong demand.

Finally, African airlines observed an 18.5% traffic increase. Capacity rose by 19.2% generating the lowest load factor of all regions at 73.3%.

Domestic Air Travel Demand

Domestic travel demand in China has surged, particularly around the Lunar New Year, and there are expectations of continued increases in February. Chinese airlines have expanded their capacity to meet this demand, notably by operating wide-body aircraft.

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