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Global airline industry sees robust growth in passenger demand for March 2024

IATA

March 2024 witnessed a significant 13.8% rise in global passenger demand, indicating a strong recovery and promising trends for the upcoming peak travel season, as per IATA’s latest report.

GENEVA – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for March 2024 global passenger demand with the following highlights:

  • Total demand, measured in revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs), was up 13.8% compared to March 2023. Total capacity, measured in available seat kilometers (ASK), was up 12.3% year-on-year. The March load factor was 82.0% (+1.0ppt compared to March 2023).
  • International demand rose 18.9% compared to March 2023; capacity was up 18.8% year-on-year and the load factor improved to 81.6% (+0.1ppt on March 2023).
  • Domestic demand rose 6.6% compared to March 2023; capacity was up 3.4% year-on-year and the load factor was 82.6% (+2.5ppt compared to March 2023).

“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.

Air passenger market in detail – March 2024
  World   March 2024 (% year-on-year)
  share1   RPK ASK PLF (%-pt) PLF (level)
TOTAL MARKET 100.0%   13.8% 12.3% 1.0% 82.0%
   Africa 2.1%   10.0% 12.3% -1.5% 72.1%
   Asia Pacific 31.7%   24.2% 17.9% 4.3% 83.5%
   Europe 27.1%   10.6% 10.2% 0.3% 80.9%
   Latin America 5.5%   10.9% 8.8% 1.5% 83.1%
   Middle East 9.4%   10.5% 13.6% -2.1% 77.5%
   North America 24.2%   6.3% 7.6% -1.0% 83.7%
1% of industry RPKs in 2023
Regional Breakdown – International Passenger Markets

All regions showed strong growth for international passenger markets in March 2024 compared to March 2023. Load factor performance was patchy, falling year-on-year in three of the six regions.

  • Asia-Pacific airlines continue to lead with way, with a 38.5% year-on-year increase in demand. Capacity increased 37.4% year-on-year and the load factor rose to 85.6% (+0.7ppt compared to March 2023), the highest among all regions. Major routes from Asia-Pacific display outstanding growth, although the number of scheduled air services from China to North America is still only 16.5% of pre-pandemic levels.
  • European carriers saw an 11.6% year-on-year increase in demand. Capacity increased 11.4% year-on-year, and the load factor was 79.9% (up just 0.1ppt compared to March 2023).
  • Middle Eastern airlines saw a 10.8% year-on-year increase in demand. Capacity increased 13.9% year-on-year and the load factor fell -2.1ppt to 77.5% compared to March 2023.
  • North American carriers saw a 14.5% year-on-year increase in demand. Capacity increased 14.8% year-on-year, and the load factor fell to 84.7% (-0.2ppt compared to March 2023).
  • Latin American airlines saw a 19.7% year-on-year increase in demand. Capacity climbed 18.3% year-on-year. The load factor rose to 84.3% (+0.9ppt compared to March 2023).
  • African airlines saw an 8.1% year-on-year increase in demand. Capacity was up 11.0% year-on-year. The load factor fell to 70.3% (-1.9ppt compared to March 2023).
Domestic markets

Domestic demand increased at a slower pace in March, moderating to typical pre-pandemic growth rates. China (+17.6% compared to March 2023) continued to be the leading market. Other markets showed stable growth with the exception of Australia. Its drop in growth may reflect the wider economic slowdown in Q1 in the country.

Air passenger market in detail – March 2024
  World   March 2024 (% year-on-year)
  share1   RPK ASK PLF (%-pt) PLF (level)
   Domestic 39.9%   6.6% 3.4% 2.5% 82.6%
   Dom. Australia 0.8%   1.8% 3.9% -1.7% 79.8%
   Domestic Brazil 1.2%   1.6% -0.1% 1.3% 79.9%
   Dom. China P.R. 11.2%   17.6% 5.3% 8.5% 80.7%
   Domestic India 1.8%   3.8% 3.5% 0.2% 85.8%
   Domestic Japan 1.1%   3.3% -1.7% 4.0% 82.5%
   Domestic US 15.4%   2.6% 4.5% -1.5% 82.9%
1% of industry RPKs in 2023
Note: the six domestic passenger markets for which broken-down data are available account for approximately 31.4% of global total RPKs and 78.8% of total domestic RPKs
Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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