The International Air Transport (IATA) has released its latest traffic figures, showing continued post-Covid recovery momentum during July.

Global traffic (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) reached 95.6 per cent of pre-Covid levels, with an increase in traffic of 26.2 per cent compared to July 2022.

The figure is also up 7 per cent from the 88 per cent of pre-Covid levels achieved in March this year.

IATA: global air traffic now at 88 per cent of 2019 levels

Domestic traffic fared particularly well, “strongly supported by surging demand in the China domestic market”, with RPKs standing at 8.3 per cent above 2019 levels – the highest ever recorded.

IATA also said that international passenger load factors reached 85.7 per cent in July – again the highest monthly figure ever recorded.

The association’s director general Willie Wlash said that “planes were full” and “forward ticket sales indicate that traveller confidence remains high”.

But he warned that while “The Northern Hemisphere summer is living up to expectations for very strong traffic demand”, infrastructure provider issues including insufficient staffing and the recent UK air traffic control failure had been “deeply disappointing”.

Walsh also pointed to capacity cuts being imposed by governments in Mexico and the Netherlands, stating that they will “most certainly destroy jobs and damage local and national economies”.

“The numbers continue to tell us that people want and need air connectivity. That’s why governments should be working with us so that people can travel safely, sustainably and efficiently,” said Walsh.

Earlier this year aviation analytics firm Cirium published analysis showing that global airline passenger traffic could surpass 2019 levels before the end of the year.

Global airline passenger traffic could reach pre-Covid levels by September