IATA says global aviation passenger demand up 21.5% in February

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

Total demand, measured in revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs), was up 21.5% compared to February 2023. Total capacity, measured in available seat kilometers (ASK), was up 18.7% year-on-year. The February load factor was 80.6% (+1.9ppt compared to February 2023).

International demand rose 26.3% compared to February 2023; capacity was up 25.5% year-on-year and the load factor improved to 79.3% (+0.5ppt on February 2023).

Domestic demand rose 15.0% compared to February 2023; capacity was up 9.4% year-on-year and the load factor was 82.6% (+4.0ppt compared to February 2023).

Note that February 2024 was a leap year with one extra day compared to February 2023. This slightly exaggerates growth in both demand and capacity to the positive.

“The strong start to 2024 continued in February with all markets except North America reporting double-digit growth in passenger traffic. There is good reason to be optimistic about the industry’s prospects in 2024 as airlines accelerate investments in decarbonization and passenger demand shows resilience in the face of geopolitical and economic uncertainties.  It is critical that politicians resist the temptation of cash grabs with new taxes that could destabilize this positive trajectory and make travel more expensive. In particular, Europe is a worry as it seems determined to lock in its sluggish economic recovery with uncompetitive tax proposals,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

Air Passenger Market in Detail

Total Market100%21.5%18.7%1.9%80.6%
Asia Pacific31.7%37.8%30.1%4.7%84.4%
Latin America5.5%13.0%10.8%1.6%82.7%
Middle East9.4%19.7%18.8%0.6%80.8%
North America24.2%8.9%8.8%0.0%79.5%

1) % of industry RPKs in 2023    2) Year-on-year change in load factor    3) Load Factor Level

International Passenger Markets

All regions showed double digit growth for international passenger markets in February 2024 compared to February 2023. For the first time, demand for international services exceeded pre-pandemic levels (+0.9% compared to February 2023). This, however, is skewed by February 2024 being a leap-year with an extra day compared to February 2023.

Asia-Pacific airlines saw a 53.2% year-on-year increase in demand. Capacity increased 52.1% year-on-year and the load factor rose to 84.9% (+0.6ppt compared to February 2023), the highest among all regions.

European carriers’ saw a 15.9% year-on-year increase in demand. Capacity increased 16.0% year-on-year, and the load factor was 74.7% (flat compared to February 2023).

Middle Eastern airlines saw a 19.7% year-on-year increase in demand. Capacity increased 19.1% year-on-year and the load factor rose to 80.8% (+0.4ppt compared to February 2023).

North American carriers saw a 16.0% year-on-year increase in demand. Capacity increased 17.6% year-on-year, and the load factor fell to 77.7% (-1.1ppt compared to February 2023).

Latin American airlines’ saw a 21.0% year-on-year increase in demand. Capacity climbed 18.6% year-on-year. The load factor rose to 84.2% (+1.7ppt compared to February 2023).

African airlines’ saw a 20.7% year-on-year increase in demand. Capacity was up 22.1% year-on-year. The load factor fell to 74.0% (-0.8ppt compared to February 2023).

Domestic Passenger Markets

Domestic demand growth was led by China (+35.1% compared to February 2023) which benefitted from unrestricted Lunar New Year travel.

Domestic Australia0.8%14.9%9.1%3.7%73.4%
Domestic Brazil1.2%3.2%5.5%-1.7%77.5%
Domestic China P.R.11.2%35.1%20.5%9.2%84.9%
Domestic India1.8%5.3%4.8%0.5%88.8%
Domestic Japan1.1%9.1%0.9%5.9%79.0%
Domestic US15.4%5.7%4.8%0.7%80.2%

1) % of industry RPKs in 2023    2) year-on-year change in load factor    3) Load Factor Level 

> View the February Air Passenger Market Analysis (pdf)

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Notes for Editors:

  • IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 320 airlines comprising 83% of global air traffic.
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  • Statistics compiled by IATA Economics using direct airline reporting complemented by estimates, including the use of FlightRadar24 data provided under license.
  • All figures are provisional and represent total reporting at time of publication plus estimates for missing data. Historic figures are subject to revision.
  • Domestic RPKs accounted for about 41.9% of the total market in 2022. The six domestic markets in this report account for 31.3% of global RPKs.
  • Explanation of measurement terms:

– RPK: Revenue Passenger Kilometers measures actual passenger traffic

– ASK: Available Seat Kilometers measures available passenger capacity

– PLF: Passenger Load Factor is % of ASKs used.

  • IATA statistics cover international and domestic scheduled air traffic for IATA member and non-member airlines.
  • Total passenger traffic market shares by region of carriers for 2023 in terms of RPK are: Asia-Pacific 31.7%, Europe 27.1%, North America 24.2%, Middle East 9.4%, Latin America 5.5%, and Africa 2.1%.

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