MUSCAT, August 6: Global air passenger demand continued its strong recovery, with revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) rising by 76.2 per cent in year-on-year (YoY) terms in June, according to the latest market analysis.
International RPKs grew by 229.5 per cent YoY and domestic RPKs increased by 5.2 per cent YoY. Domestic traffic levels are now 18.6 per cent below their pre-pandemic 2019 levels.
The industry-wide passenger load factor was 82.4 per cent in June, up 12.9 percentage points (pp) over the past year and returning to above 80 per cent for the first time since January 2020.
"The re-opening of the Asia Pacific markets will provide renewed impetus to the global passenger recovery while inflation and higher interest rates may eventually begin to dampen the pent-up demand for air travel," the report said.
The industry-wide passenger load factor (PLF) returned to above 80 per cent for the first time since January 2020 and has increased by 12.9pp over the past year. Both the domestic and international PLFs are above 80 per cent, with the latter increasing significantly – by almost 30 pp – over the past 12 months.
Middle East carriers experienced a 10.8 per cent year-on-year decrease in cargo volumes in June. Significant benefits from traffic being redirected to avoid flying over Russia failed to materialise.
Capacity was up 6.7 per cent compared to June 2021. Demand for the first half-year was 9.3% below 2021 levels, the weakest first half performance of all regions. The first half-year capacity was 6.3 per cent above 2021 levels.
"Overall, the latest bookings data suggest that, notwithstanding high energy prices, disruptions relating to labour and capacity constraints in some markets, and various other pressures on the industry, consumers’ willingness to travel remains strong," the report said.
Meanwhile, air cargo performance was impacted by several factors.
Trade activity ramped up slightly in June as lockdowns in China due to Omicron were eased. Emerging regions (Latin America and Africa) also contributed to growth with stronger volumes.
New export orders, a leading indicator of cargo demand and world trade, decreased in all markets, except China.
The war in Ukraine continues to impair cargo capacity used to serve Europe as several airlines based in Russia and Ukraine were key cargo players.
“Air cargo demand over the first half of 2022 was 2.2 per cent above pre-Covid levels (first half 2019). That’s a strong performance, particularly considering continuing supply chain constraints and the loss of capacity due to the war in Ukraine. Current economic uncertainties have had little impact on demand for air cargo, but developments will need to be closely monitored in the second half,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
Middle Eastern carriers experienced a 10.8 per cent year-on-year decrease in cargo volumes in June.
Significant benefits from traffic being redirected to avoid flying over Russia failed to materialise. Capacity was up 6.7 per cent compared to June 2021.
Demand for the first half-year was 9.3 per cent below 2021 levels, the weakest first half performance of all regions. The first half-year capacity was 6.3% above 2021 levels.