The 2024 air travel forecast by ACI World predicts a global recovery with 9.4 billion passengers, surpassing 2019's pre-pandemic levels. Latin America-Caribbean is expected to lead this rebound.

Air Travel Set for Big Rise in 2024, Surpassing Pre-Pandemic Levels
(Photo : Joshua Woroniecki from Pixabay)

2024 Air Travel Surge

The latest air travel outlook from Airports Council International (ACI) World forecasts a significant recovery in global passenger traffic by early 2024. The expected number of passengers is around 9.4 billion, surpassing the 2019 pre-pandemic levels. 

In 2023, according to Forbes, global passenger volume is projected to hit 8.6 billion, 94.2% of 2019. The Latin America-Caribbean region is anticipated to be the first to exceed its 2019 levels, reaching 102.9% of that year's total.

ACI World's Director General, Luis Felipe de Oliveira, projects air travel will nearly return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2023, with all regions achieving this milestone by 2024. 

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The recovery factors include the reopening of the Chinese market, a surge in domestic travel, subsiding supply chain disruptions, and a slowdown in inflation. Despite potential risks, the aviation sector's commitment signals optimism for its future. Aviation plays a crucial role in global economic recovery, driving growth, creating jobs, and fostering connections across cultures and economies.

2024 is set to be a pivotal year for air travel, marking a significant rebound and offering promising prospects for the aviation industry worldwide​. 

Air Travel Profits Expected to Soar in 2023 and 2024

The air travel industry is set for a profitable 2023, with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) projecting a net profit of $23.3 billion for the year. This forecast is more than double the expectations set six months earlier. The growth is anticipated to continue into 2024, with a modest rise in profits to $25.7 billion.

Air Travel Set for Big Rise in 2024, Surpassing Pre-Pandemic Levels
(Photo : Dom J on Pexels)

This positive trend marks a significant turnaround for the industry, which faced three consecutive years of losses during the pandemic, culminating in a $3.8 billion net loss in 2022.

Investopedia shared that IATA's improved outlook for 2023 and 2024 is driven by a nearly $100 billion increase in revenue expectations. Originally, the industry's revenues were forecasted at just over $800 billion, but this figure has now been revised to $896 billion. This upgrade in revenue expectations signifies a robust recovery for the sector.

The Asia-Pacific region is expected to show notable improvement, almost reaching a break-even point this year. This is a significant change from the previously forecasted net loss of $7 billion. The recovery has been rapid, with IATA Director General Willie Walsh noting that the pandemic cost aviation about four years of growth. From 2024, normal growth patterns for both passenger and cargo are expected.

However, the industry faces challenges due to rising interest rates, which may limit the increase in total net profitability. Despite an almost $9 billion improvement in operating profit in 2024 to $49.3 billion, higher interest rates are expected to restrict the net profit increase to just over $2 billion, achieving $25.7 billion.

This outlook for the air travel industry reflects a significant recovery and growth trajectory following a challenging period during the pandemic​. 

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