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IATA: All Regions Show Strong Growth In Airline Passenger Demand

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported a significant increase in global airline passenger demand for March 2024.

people inside a commercial airplane
Photo by Dylan Bueltel on
  • Total demand, measured in revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs), increased by 13.8% compared to March 2023, with capacity rising by 12.3%. The load factor for March was 82.0%, marking a 1.0 percentage point increase from the previous year.
  • International demand rose 18.9% year-on-year, nearly matching the increase in capacity of 18.8%. The international load factor slightly improved to 81.6%.
  • Domestic demand grew by 6.6% compared to the same month last year, with a capacity increase of 3.4%. The domestic load factor improved significantly, reaching 82.6%, a 2.5 percentage point increase from March 2023.

Strong Demand For Air Travel

“Demand for travel is strong. And there is every indication that this should continue into the peak Northern Summer travel season. It is critical that we have the capacity to meet this demand and ensure a hassle-free travel experience for passengers. That means making urgent progress to resolve supply chain issues and for airports and air traffic management to be fully staffed and operating at maximum efficiency. While airlines are prepared for customer care and assistance when operational issues arise, they are fed-up of bearing the cost when delays and cancellations are the result of poor preparation in other parts of the value chain,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

Regional Breakdown – International Airline Passenger Demand

All international passenger markets experienced notable growth in March 2024 compared to March 2023, with diverse load factor trends across different regions:

  • Asia-Pacific airlines led with a remarkable 38.5% increase in demand, and with the highest load factor rise to 85.6%, even though flights from China to North America remain reduced.
  • European carriers reported a moderate 11.6% increase in demand, with a slight increase in load factor to 79.9%.
  • Middle Eastern airlines saw a 10.8% demand increase but faced a load factor decline of 2.1 percentage points, dropping to 77.5%.
  • North American carriers experienced a 14.5% rise in demand while their load factor slightly decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 84.7%.
  • Latin American airlines observed a 19.7% surge in demand with an improved load factor of 84.3%.
  • African airlines had the least growth in demand, at 8.1%, and their load factor declined 1.9 percentage points to 70.3%.

Despite the variable load factor performances, each region shared positive growth in passenger demand.

Domestic Airline Passenger Demand

Domestic demand increased slower in March, moderating to typical pre-pandemic growth rates. China (+17.6% compared to March 2023) remained the leading market. Other markets showed stable growth except Australia. Its growth drop may reflect the country’s wider economic slowdown in Q1. 

Read the latest IATA Passenger Market Analysis

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