African carriers’ passenger traffic outpaced global growth in the full year 2023 backed by higher demand for air travel.
Data by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) shows that airlines in the continent posted an annual traffic growth of 38.7pc last year compared to 2022, beating global passenger traffic growth of 36.9pc.
Full year capacity on the other hand rose to 38.3pc even as load factor which is measures passenger capacity used rose marginally by 0.2pc to 71.9pc.
According to IATA the recovery in air travel continued in December 2023 and total 2023 traffic edged even closer to matching pre-pandemic demand.
“The strong post-pandemic rebound continued in 2023. December traffic stood just 2.5pc below 2019 levels, with a strong performance in quarter 4, teeing-up airlines for a return to normal growth patterns in 2024. The recovery in travel is good news,” said Willie Walsh, IATA Director General.
December 2023 traffic for African airlines rose 9.5pc when compared to December 2022.
Globally, full year 2023 traffic was at 94.1pc of pre-pandemic (2019) levels as December 2023 total traffic rose 25.3pc compared to December 2022 and reached 97.5pc of the December 2019 level.
Fourth quarter traffic was at 98.2pc of 2019, reflecting the strong recovery towards the end of the year.
“The restoration of connectivity is powering the global economy as people travel to do business, further their educations, take hard-earned vacations and much more. But to maximize the benefits of air travel in the post-pandemic world, governments need to take a strategic approach. That means providing cost-efficient infrastructure to meet demand, incentivizing Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) production to meet our net zero carbon emission goal by 2050, and adopting regulations that deliver a clear cost-benefit. Completing the recovery must not be an excuse for governments to forget the critical role of aviation to increasing the prosperity and well-being of people and businesses the world over,” added Walsh.
Asia-Pacific airlines posted a the strongest growth year-on-year at 126.1pc as capacity rose 101.8pc and the load factor climbed 9pc to 83.1pc
European carriers’ full year traffic climbed 22pc with a capacity of increase17.5pc, while Middle Eastern airlines passenger traffic grew by 33.3pc during the year under review.
North American carriers reported a 28.3pc annual traffic rise last year with a capacity increased of 22.4pc while airlines operating in the Latin American market posted a 28.6pc traffic risr and an annual capacity growth of 25.4pc