IATA: March Global Air Traffic Remains Solid


March air demand as measured by revenue passenger kilometers
continued to show strength, with global, domestic and particularly
international markets each posting increases, according to the latest monthly
report from the International Air Transport Association.

Total March global air traffic increased 13.8 percent year
over year, while capacity, measured in available seat kilometers, was up 12.3
percent for the same period. Passenger load factor was up 1 percentage point to
82 percent.

March international demand surged 18.9 percent versus March
2023, with capacity for the month up 18.8 percent year over year. Load factor
remained relatively even at 81.6 percent. Domestic traffic increased, but at a
slower pace, with a 6.6 percent gain for the month versus a year prior. March
domestic capacity was up 3.4 percent, with passenger load factor gaining 2.5
percentage points to 82.6 percent.

“Demand for travel is strong. And there is every
indication that this should continue into the peak Northern Summer travel
season,” IATA director general Willie Walsh said in a statement. “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.”

Report continues below chart.

IATA March Data

Asia-Pacific continued to lead March regional international
traffic and capacity increases, at 38.5 percent and 37.4 percent, respectively,
year over year. It also had the highest load factor increase at 0.7 percentage
points to 85.6 percent. The downside is that the number of scheduled air
services from China to North America only is about 16.5 percent of pre-pandemic
levels, according to IATA. 

Nearly all the regions posted double-digit demand and
capacity growth in March, save for Africa. While its capacity was up 11 percent
year over year, demand rose 8.1 percent. Load factors were mixed, with three of
the six regions posting losses, including the Middle East (down 2.1 percentage
points to 77.5 percent), North America (down 0.2 percentage points to 84.7
percent) and Africa (down 1.9 percentage points to 70.3 percent).

March domestic air demand increased in each of the six markets
covered in the report, with China once again leading the way, with a 17.6
percent gain year over year. Capacity increases were in the mid-single digits
for four markets, with two showing declines—Brazil, down 0.1 percent versus
March 2023, and Japan, down 1.7 percent. The only two countries with
load-factor losses were Australia, down 1.7 percentage points to 79.8 percent,
and the U.S., down 1.5 percentage points to 82.9 percent.

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