Global Air Passenger Demand Grows for 36th Consecutive Month

Passengers in an airport terminal at dusk
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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reports positive news for the airline industry with its April findings. The month saw global air passenger demand rising for the 36th consecutive month.

As travel demand remains buoyant, optimism is high for a busy summer park season. We take a look at a breakdown of the key findings from IATA’s April 2024 data.

Overall Passenger Demand Rises

Compared to April 2023, total global air passenger demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) increased by 11.0%.

Available seat kilometers (ASKs), which represent total capacity, grew by 9.6% year-on-year. This resulted in a healthy load factor of 82.4%, a 1.0 percentage point improvement over April 2023.

International Travel Booming

International passenger demand saw the most significant growth, rising 15.8% year-on-year. Capacity kept pace, increasing by 14.8%.

The international load factor reached 82.2%, up 0.7 percentage points from April 2023.

Domestic Travel Growth Positive

Domestic demand also showed positive signs, rising 4.0% compared to April 2023. However, this growth was slower than the international segment.

Capacity rose by 2.1% year-on-year, and the load factor climbed to 82.6%, a 1.5 percentage point increase over April 2023.

Satisfaction and Sustainability: Key Priorities

IATA Director General Willie Walsh expressed optimism for a strong summer season, citing a recent survey where 97% of passengers reported satisfaction with their last flight.

He emphasized the importance of maintaining this positive experience across the entire travel journey.

Furthermore, the IATA Passenger Survey highlighted that 88% of respondents believe air travel improves their lives.

This strong endorsement underscores the industry’s role in connecting people and boosting economies.

However, Walsh also acknowledged the challenge of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 to ensure the continued sustainability of air travel.

Passengers board a jet in stormy weather.
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Regional Highlights: International Passenger Markets

Asia-Pacific Leads the Charge

Asia-Pacific airlines continue to be the frontrunners, experiencing a remarkable 32.1% year-on-year demand increase.

Capacity grew by 29.3%, and the load factor reached 83.7%, a 1.7 percentage point improvement. Notably, strong traffic flows are seen from the Middle East and Africa to Asia.

Europe on the Rise

European carriers reported a 10.1% year-on-year demand increase, with capacity rising by 10.0%.

The load factor stood at 83.3%, a slight increase of 0.1 percentage points compared to April 2023. European international routes have surpassed pre-pandemic levels for all regions except Africa.

Air travelers in a busy airport terminal.
Photo Credit: Pixabay

Other Regions See Growth

Middle Eastern airlines experienced a 14.2% demand increase, with a load factor reaching 79.3% (up 3.0 percentage points).

North American carriers saw a 6.5% demand increase, but their load factor fell to 81.0%.

Latin American airlines reported a 14.5% demand increase, boasting the highest regional load factor of 84.1%.

African airlines witnessed a 15.5% demand increase, with the load factor climbing to 73.0%.

Domestic Passenger Markets

Domestic demand growth was more moderate in April. China’s growth slowed to 4.2% due to the end of its holiday travel surge.

Similarly, Japan’s flat performance reflects the end of their fiscal year and the start of the school spring break. Despite this, Japan’s overall RPK trend remains positive.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
4 Min Read
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