The International Air Transport (IATA) has released its latest traffic figures, showing what it said was a “solid end to the third quarter”.

Global airline passenger traffic reached 97.3 per cent of pre-Covid levels in September, with domestic traffic faring particularly well, exceeding pre-pandemic September 2019 levels by 5 per cent.

International traffic increased by 31.2 per cent compared to the same month in 2022, with all markets see double-digit percentage gains year on year, and RPKs (revenue passenger kilometres) reaching 93.1 per cent of September 2019 levels.

With the Asia-Pacific region having been by and large the last to remove Covid travel restrictions, its airlines continued to lead in terms of annual improvement, recording a 92.6 per cent increase in September 2023 traffic compared to the same period last year.

Earlier this month airport industry association ACI EUROPE published its latest figures, showing that nearly half of Europe’s airports have now recovered 2019 traffic volumes.

Nearly half of Europe’s airports have now recovered 2019 traffic volumes

And in September ACI World forecast that the Latin America-Caribbean region will be the first to surpass 2019 levels, with the region expected to welcome 707 million passengers this year – 102.9 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

Commenting on the latest figures Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general, said:

“With the end of 2023 fast approaching, we can look back on a year of strong recovery in demand as passengers took full advantage of their freedom to travel. There is every reason to believe that this momentum can be maintained in the New Year, despite economic and political uncertainties in parts of the world.

“But we need the whole value chain to be ready. Supply chain issues in the aircraft manufacturing sector are unacceptable. They have held back the recovery and solutions must be found.

“The same holds true for infrastructure providers, particularly air navigation service providers. Equipment failures, staffing shortages and labour unrest made it impossible to deliver the flying experience our customers expect. A successful 2024 needs the whole value chain to be fully prepared to handle the demand that is coming.”