Global air passenger traffic in November continued to recover, but at a slightly lower rate than in October, according to the International Air Transport Association. International traffic led the increase, while domestic traffic ticked up just a few percentage points.
Total November 2022 traffic, as measured in revenue passenger kilometers, increased 41.3 percent year over year. It now is three-quarters (75.3 percent) recovered from 2019 levels, compared with October's 74.2 percent. Total November capacity as measured in available seat kilometers increased 23.8 percent for the period, and is 75.4 percent recovered. Load factor was 80.8 percent, up 10 percentage points from November 2021.
"Traffic results in November reinforce that consumers are thoroughly enjoying the freedom to travel," IATA director general Willie Walsh said in a statement. "Unfortunately, the reactions to China's reopening of international travel in January reminds us that many governments are still playing science politics when it comes to Covid-19 and travel."
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Travel restrictions in China in November continued to "dampen" the overall global numbers, according to IATA. The country since has lifted some Covid-19 regulations for inbound international travelers.
"Epidemiologists, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, and others have said that the reintroduction of testing for travelers from China can do little to contain a virus that is already present around the world," Walsh said. "And China's objections to these policy measures are compromised by their own pre-departure testing requirements for people traveling to China. Governments should focus on using available tools to manage Covid-19 effectively—including improved therapeutics and vaccinations—rather than repeating policies that have failed time and again over the last three years."
November domestic traffic was up 3.4 percent compared with November 2021 and was at the 77.7 percent recovery level versus November 2019. Domestic capacity was down 3.1 percent versus a year prior with recovery compared with November 2019 levels at 79.2 percent.
China was the only domestic market to show a decline, with traffic down 38.8 percent year over year and capacity down 41.6 percent. The United States continued to lead the way in regaining pre-pandemic traffic and was just 1 percent below 2019 levels, followed by Brazil at 3.8 percent down. Brazil led the recovery for capacity at just 1.6 percent below 2019 levels, followed by the U.S. at 3.1 percent down.
International November 2022 traffic continued its strong rebound with an increase of 85.2 percent year over year, bringing it to 73.7 percent of 2019 levels, up from 72.1 percent in October. Capacity increased 51.1 percent versus November 2021 and was 73.1 percent recovered versus 2019 levels. Asia-Pacific once again showed the strongest passenger growth at 373.9 percent year over year as countries continued to reopen. The region also led in capacity growth, at 159.2 percent. Europe reported the slowest growth, with passenger traffic up about 45.3 percent and capacity up 25.1 percent.