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For the first time since January 2020, the industrywide airline passenger load factor in June 2022 was above 80 percent, according to the International Air Transport Association. June load factor increased 12.9 percentage points year over year to 82.4 percent.

Both domestic and international passenger load factors were above 80 percent—domestic at 81.1 percent and international at 83.4 percent—with the latter showing a significant jump of 28.1 percentage points from June 2021.

“With the Northern hemisphere summer travel season now fully underway, predictions that the lifting of travel restrictions would unleash a torrent of pent-up demand are being borne out,” IATA director general Willie Walsh said in a statement.

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Total traffic, measured in revenue passenger kilometers, was up 76.2 percent year over year. Globally, traffic in June was at 70.8 percent of pre-crisis levels, according to IATA. Traffic compared with June 2019 was down 29.2 percent after being down 31.3 percent in May, showing continuing improvement.

Lifting of some travel restrictions in “most parts of Asia-Pacific” contributed to the recovery, according to IATA. June global international traffic was up 229.5 percent compared with a year prior, with Asia-Pacific showing the largest increase at 492 percent, though the region accounted for only 3.1 percent of the world share. The Middle East, up 246.5 percent, and Europe, up 234.4 percent, followed. International traffic was down 35 percent compared with June 2019, a slight improvement from May’s 35.9 percent decline.

Total June domestic traffic was up 5.2 percent, with India again showing the largest growth at 264.4 percent year over year, followed by Japan at 146.4 percent. China again was the only region to show declines in both traffic and capacity, at 45 percent and 37.6 percent, respectively. Compared with June 2019, China’s traffic was down 51 percent and capacity was down 37 percent, improvements over May’s figures of down 71.5 percent and 59.5 percent, respectively. Compared with June 2019, total domestic traffic was down 18.6 percent, an improvement from May’s 23.3 percent decline.

June global capacity as measured in available seat kilometers was up 48.5 percent versus June 2021, and down 27.5 percent compared with June 2019. Total international capacity was up 12.9 percent year over year, but down 34.8 percent versus June 2019. Total June domestic capacity was up 2.3 percent over the year prior, and down 13.9 percent versus 2019.

While praising the lifting of travel restrictions, Walsh also cited the operational challenges faced at some airports. “Just look at the issues that airlines and their passengers at some hub airports are being confronted with,” he said. “These airports are unable to support their declared capacity even with the current 64 percent slot threshold and have extended recent passenger caps until the end of October,” referencing Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport announcement that caps were being extended a few months

“By capping passenger numbers, airports are preventing airlines from benefitting from the strong demand,” Walsh added. “Heathrow Airport has tried to blame airlines for the disruption. However, Service Level Performance data for the first six months of this year show that they have failed miserably to provide basic services and missed their Passenger Security service target by a massive 14.3 points.”

RELATED: IATA: Continued Int’l Demand Drove May Air Recovery

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