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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​These pages provide analysis of economic and policy developments affecting the financial performance of the global airline industry.​​​​​​​​​​ 

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The strong air passenger recovery continues in Q3 2023

The September quarter (Q3) saw a continuation of the strong passenger traffic recovery. Industry-wide revenue passenger-kilometers (RPKs) rose by 28.4% compared to Q3 2022, bringing overall passenger traffic to just 3.7% below its 2019 level. This recovery was driven predominantly by resilient domestic markets.

  • Chart of the Week

Airline market share profiles vary across regions

As the airline industry recovers to pre-pandemic activity levels this year, understanding how airlines are positioned for efficiency and growth is paramount.

  • Chart of the Week

Green energy funds underperform the oil and gas sector

While the global demand for clean and renewable energy sources is growing, the performance of the funds that invest in them has been lagging the conventional energy sector, which is dominated by oil and gas companies.

  • Chart of the Week

Airline balance sheets remain impacted by the pandemic

The debt-to-equity ratio is a solvency ratio providing insight into an organization’s reliance on debt to finance its activities. How high this ratio can be before it becomes a solvency concern depends on multiple factors including, notably, revenue.

  • Chart of the Week

In Asia the recovery is being strongly led by the central region

An analysis of the 2023 and 2019 H1 seat availability and passenger (pax) volumes shows that Central Asian countries are leading the recovery in Asia

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Strong global labor market is both good and bad for airlines

World Bank data show that global unemployment rates (solid lines on the chart above) have been decreasing steadily since the spike that accompanied the Covid-19 crisis and are now below their pre-pandemic levels.

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A renewed rise in the jet crack spread adds to cost pressure

Since May, oil and jet fuel prices have been trending higher. Combined with additional price volatility from March 2022, this development creates renewed challenges for airlines’ financial recovery.

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Cargo traffic maintains recovery trend amid challenges

After an outstanding performance in 2021, air cargo demand faced consecutive year-on-year (YoY) declines in 2022, a trend that persisted until July 2023. However, August marked a turning point with the first annual growth since February 2022

  • Chart of the Week

Broad passenger growth across markets in Q2 2023

In Q2 2023, global origin-destination (O-D) passenger traffic grew 28.9% compared to Q2 2022 levels, totaling 954 million passengers. This brought global passenger traffic close to pre-pandemic levels, just 3.5% below Q2 2019.

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Airlines operate key hubs for growth and connectivity

Airlines efficiently connect passengers across cities using strategic hub-and-spoke systems, consolidating and directing travelers through central hub airports. This approach enables airlines to resourcefully transport an increasing number of passengers to various destinations while benefiting from economies of scale and traffic density. Today’s chart highlights the pivotal airports through which airlines facilitate passenger flows between global markets, driving strong traffic recovery and connectivity growth.

  • Chart of the Week

July sets all-time high for domestic passenger traffic

Domestic air travel has been a driving force in the recovery of global passenger demand since the onset of the pandemic, mainly due to the early reopening of domestic markets.

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Balancing fleet age for efficiency and sustainable growth

Airlines modernize their fleets in a structural quest for lower fuel consumption and the associated carbon emissions reduction. Additionally, fleets are optimized to meet global passenger demand while capturing operational efficiency gains. Newer aircraft models offer better fuel economy and operational performance, resulting in cost savings and lower CO2 emissions. Given the significant cost of commercial aircraft, airlines often lease their assets, with ownership and leasing evenly split in the industry.

  • Chart of the Week

Sustainable aviation fuel output increases, but volumes still low

In the pursuit of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, the aviation industry finds itself at a pivotal juncture. A combination of technological solutions is required to achieve that ambitious goal. Various pathways to net zero are possible but all feature Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) as a key component in curtailing carbon emissions within the hard-to-abate air transport sector.

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Asia Pacific traffic dominates top 10 city pairs

An analysis of air passenger journeys shows that by far the most popular origin - destination (O-D) passenger route across the past twelve months was Jeju-si to/from Seoul. This strong performance is consistent with the pre-pandemic (2019) statistics, where the same route saw 65% higher passenger demand than the next busiest route which at the time was Tokyo-Sapporo

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Industry employment yet to fully recover from the pandemic

Today’s chart depicts developments in airline employment, based on IATA’s Annual Air Transport Survey. Data for the Top 25 airlines (by employment size) are used to proxy the industry total.

  • Chart of the Week