Driving Transactions
Wednesday, July 24, 2024

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently released data for May 2024 (the latest data available) for global demand for air travel, which showed a solid month across all markets. Globally, demand was up 10.7 percent compared to May 2023. Leading the pack were Asia-Pacific airlines, which saw a 27 percent year-on-year increase in demand. The association represents 330 airlines comprising 80+ percent of global air traffic.

“Strong demand for travel continues with airlines posting a 10.7 percent year-on-year increase in travel for May. Airlines filled 83.4 percent of their seats, a record for the month. With May ticket sales for early peak-season travel up nearly 6 percent, the growth trend shows no signs of abating,” said IATA Director General Willie Walsh.

IATAIATA Director General Willie Walsh

The trend is likely to continue. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reported that it screened more than 3 million passengers on the Sunday after the July 4th holiday weekend, a record. In fact, nine of its 10 top busiest days ever have occured this year alone. 

While demand remains robust, airlines are sounding the alarm that it isn’t necessarily leading to profit. According to a recent report from CNN, most airlines are seeing record demand and revenue—including added voluntary fees from upgrades and luggage—but labor and fuel costs are cutting deeply into profits. IATA notes that fuel prices are up about 4 percent in June over last month. Additional problems plaguing the airlines are hiring issues and the delay of newer jets from Airbus and the beleaguered Boeing.

“Airlines are doing everything they can to ensure smooth journeys for all travelers over the peak northern summer period. But our expectations of air navigation service providers (ANSPs) are already being tested. With 5.2 million minutes of air traffic control delays racked up in Europe even before the peak season begins, it is clear that Europe’s ANSPs have unresolved challenges. And the 32,000 flight delays over the Memorial Day weekend in May show that challenges persist in the US too. Airlines are accountable to their customers; ANSPs must be as well. ANSP performance matters to their airline customers and to millions of travelers. We all need them to do their job efficiently,” adds Walsh.

The full report can be found here.