Istanbul Airport (Photo: LC)

In July, passenger growth, expressed in RPK (revenue/passenger/km), increased by almost 130% compared to last year, according to the latest official IATA

figures. But the statistics can be misleading. For this growth is still in fact at half-mast compared to 2019. The improvement is certainly visible compared to the first months of the year.

Nevertheless, IATA notes that the number of passengers expressed in RPK is still 53.1% lower than in July 2019.

Europe is picking up again

Europe’s airlines have continued to recover. Encouraging results due to the lifting -or at least the easing- of restrictions for foreign travel. But also due to the holiday season and an irrepressible need for northern Europeans to find some sun in the south of the continent. The number of passengers in RPKs rose by 121.2% year-on-year, with the load factor rising by 9.4 percentage points to 72.5%. Looking ahead to July 2019, passenger numbers are still 56.5% lower. The load factor, meanwhile, is 16.5 points below its 2019 score.

The Americas are leading the way

And yet it is not Europe that is performing the best in July. According to the IATA barometer, it is Latin America that is the continent champion of all categories of growth. The number of passengers jumped by 572.3% (expressed in RPK) while the load factor reached 79.3%.

In terms of load factor, North America led the way in July. The average load factor was 84.1%, due to strong demand on US domestic routes as well as strong leisure traffic between the US and Mexico. The number of passengers in North America increased by 254.8%.

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Asia is drifting away

It

should be noted that the Middle East is also recovering, with the resumption of connections to Europe and transfer traffic – in particular to the entire Gulf region but also to Africa and some Asian destinations. Passenger traffic in July saw a 227.7% increase compared to 2020. However, with a rather low load factor of 51.3%.

The only region that continues to suffer is Asia. It is true that July saw an increase in the number of passengers, up 33.1%. However, this increase remains well below that of other continents. If we compare the situation to the 2019 figures, Asia’s air traffic remains more than 94% lower. A disaster for local carriers who still see no real improvement on the horizon…