Airlines in Africa record 90.5% surge amid global passenger recovery


African carriers have recorded a 90.5 per cent passenger traffic surge in September, compared to a year ago, as global travel recovery continues to be strong.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced passenger data for September 2022 showing a global traffic rise of 57 per cent compared to September 2021. Globally, traffic is now at 73.8 per cent of September 2019 levels.

African airlines’ capacity was up 47.2 per cent and the load factor climbed 16.7 percentage points to 73.6 per cent, the lowest among regions.

IATA’s Director General, Willie Walsh, said even with economic and geopolitical uncertainties, the demand for air transport continues to recover ground.

“The outlier is still China with its pursuit of a zero COVID-19 strategy, keeping borders largely closed and creating a demand roller coaster ride for its domestic market, with September being down to 46.4 per cent on the previous year.

“That is in sharp contrast to the rest of Asia-Pacific, which, despite China’s dismal performance, posted a 464.8 per cent increase for international traffic compared to the year-ago period,” Walsh said.

Indeed, Asia-Pacific airlines saw a 464.8 per cent rise in September traffic compared to September 2021, the strongest year-over-year rate among the regions. Capacity rose 165.3 per cent and the load factor was up 41.5 percentage points to 78.3 per cent.

European carriers’ September traffic climbed 78.3 per cent versus September 2021. Capacity increased 43.8 per cent, and load factor moved up 16.3 percentage points to 84.1 per cent, second highest among the regions.

Middle Eastern airlines posted a 149.7 per cent traffic rise in September compared to September 2021. September capacity increased 63.5 per cent versus the year-ago period, and the load factor climbed 27.6 percentage points to 80.0 per cent.

North American carriers had a 128.9 per cent traffic rise in September versus the 2021 period. Capacity increased 63.0 per cent, and load factor climbed 24.6 percentage points to 85.4 per cent, which was the highest among the regions for a fourth consecutive month.

Walsh said strong demand is helping the industry cope with sky-high fuel prices. “To support that demand in the long-term, we need to pay attention to what travellers are telling us. After nearly three years of pandemic travel complexity, IATA’s 2022 Global Passenger Survey (GPS) shows that travellers want simplification and convenience.

“That’s an important message for airlines but also for airports and governments. They own many of the facilitation processes that let passengers down at some key airports over this year’s northern summer travel season.

According to the GPS,a majority of passengers want to use biometric data rather than passports for border processes. And 93 per cent of passengers are interested in trusted traveller programmes to expedite security screening. Modernising the facilitation experience will not only help alleviate the choke points, it will create a better experience for all,” Walsh said.