IATA sees strong travel demand, highest growth in APAC

At a glance

  • The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported high levels of confidence among travelers for May to September, 2023, with forward bookings tracking at 35 percent above 2022 levels.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported high level of confidence among travelers for May to September, 2023, with forward bookings tracking at 35 percent above 2022 levels.

Forward bookings data indicates that greatest growth is expected in the Asia Pacific region, which accounted for 134.7 percent of bookings, followed by the Middle East, with 42.9 percent.

Europe accounted for 39.9 percent; Africa, 36.4 percent; Latin America, 21.4 percent and North America, 14.1 percent.

The IATA represents 300 airlines comprising 83 percent of global air traffic.

The most recent IATA survey covered 4,700 travelers in 11 countries and showed that 79 percent of travelers respondents were planning a trip in the June-August 2023 period.

A total of 85 percent said that peak travel season disruptions should not be a surprise.

Respondents, 80 percent in all, likewise expected smooth travel with post-pandemic issues having been resolved

“Expectations are high for this year’s peak Northern summer travel season," confirmed Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President for Operations, Safety and Security.

"For many, this will be their first post-pandemic travel experience. While some disruptions can be expected, there is a clear expectation that the ramping-up issues faced at some key hub airports in 2022 will have been resolved," he explained.

To meet strong demand, airlines are planning schedules based on the capacity that airports, border control, ground handlers, and air navigation service providers have declared.

"Over the next months, all industry players now need to deliver,” Careen noted.

Collaboration, sufficient staffing and accurate information sharing are all essential to minimize operational disruptions and their impact on passengers.

The key is ensuring that the capacities which have been declared and scheduled are available.

“Success rests on readiness across all players in the supply chain. If each player delivers on what has been declared, there should be no last minute requirements to reduce the scale of the schedules that travelers have booked on,” he maintained.

Labor unrest, particularly in France, is cause for concern. Eurocontrol data on the impact of French strikes earlier this year shows that cancellations can spike by over a third.

“We need to keep a very careful eye on Europe where strike actions have caused significant disruptions earlier this year," Careen warned.

"Governments should have effective contingency plans in place so that the actions of those providing essential services, like air traffic control, maintain minimum service levels and do not disrupt the hard-earned vacations of those traveling or put at risk the livelihoods of those in the travel and tourism sectors.”