Today, the global airline industry is comprised of over 23,000 aircraft and more than 2000 airlines. It services more than 3700 airports and carried nearly 2 billion passengers in 2006. Since 1990, global air travel has grown by an average of 5% annually. This growth is influenced by many factors, including changes in economic conditions, changes in the distribution of air travelers, and airline corporate strategies.
The global air travel market is expected to grow at a healthy rate in the next few years. The latest Airports Council International report indicates that the lift of travel restrictions and improved air travel demand in many countries will increase passenger traffic in the next few years. Despite these changes, some markets in Asia-Pacific remain closed to international traffic and are at a significant disadvantage to their Western counterparts.
The recovery will be led by domestic passenger traffic, which made up 58% of total passenger traffic in 2019. By 2023, global domestic air traffic will be back to the levels of the previous year, while international air travel will take nearly a year to recover. However, the international travel market will begin to show signs of recovery in the second half of 2024.
Despite the current global economic crisis, the aviation industry continues to grow rapidly, albeit at a slower pace. The growth rate for air traffic will likely remain below the growth rates of the pre-COVID period. However, despite the recent global economic crisis, the numbers are still impressive, with pre-pandemic air travel up almost 10 percent and pre-pandemic growth rates down only slightly.
The recovery of international air travel is still slow compared to that of the Americas. Although some regions are performing better than others, beach holidays are still the most popular. Sightseeing and urban visits are not as popular. Africa and the Middle East are recovering at a faster rate than the rest of the world. The Americas and Europe are expected to reach 76% of their level in 2019. But the Asia-Pacific region is not recovering as quickly.
The strong recovery in air traffic in June was attributed to a number of factors, including increased airline confidence and improving regional air connectivity. As a result, the number of air passengers and aircraft flight departures will rise by 65% in the next year compared to 2021. As capacity is restored, the load factor will rise by 24.1 percentage points to 87.7%, indicating that the recovery is more robust than expected.
As the global economy becomes increasingly interconnected, the impact of air travel is also increasing. According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), by 2045, global air travel will double from its pre-pandemic levels.