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Global air travel capacity set to surpass 2018 and 2019 figures

Travel offered to both corporate and leisure clients combined is set to surpass the annual travel capacity in 2018 and 2019, that is according to FCM Consulting’s Q4-2023- Quarterly Global Trends Report, citing data from Cirium.

The report also highlighted a key trend that is set to continue for 2024 – more seats with less flights. H1-2024 is forecast to offer +97.9M (+3.5 per cent) more seats, and -2.1M (-5.6 per cent) less flights than H1-2019.

H1-2024 vs H1-2019:

Seats Flights Africa +11% +6% Middle East +7% +4% North America +7% -7% LATAM +6% -1% Asia +3% +1% Australasia = 0% -2% Europe -1% -8%

“Across the top global corporate airlines, we forecast that the seats offered in 2024 will be two per cent above 2019 and the number of flights offered will be down six per cent,” said Kelly Thomas, General Manager FCM Travel New Zealand.

“Though the seats offered in Australasia are unchanged, the number of flights has reduced by 2% – this is a result of fleet configuration changes and shifts in schedules to meet demand.

“This will be favourable for airline operating costs including saving on staffing, airport slots and airport costs. Hopefully, these costs savings will be passed on to customers and we will continue to see sharper prices comes to market.”

In terms of accommodation, the average rooms rates increased across all regions for 2023, when compared to 2022, with Asia seeing a rise of USD39, Europe up USD27, Middle East/Africa increasing USD27, North America up USD17, Australia/New Zealand rising by USD9, and Latin America up USD6.

Despite the increased cost, all regions also saw a lift in occupancy levels year-on-year, with Mainland China – the last major nation to reopen its borders – leaping 34 per cent to have an occupancy rate of 65 per cent, with Europe and Australia/Oceania leading the way with 69 per cent occupancy rates.

Thomas said Q4-2023 closed a milestone year, seeing corporate travel the busiest and least interrupted in over four years.

“Business travellers became more confident than in previous years and are planning trips in 2024 to both grow their business and connect with clients and colleagues. 2024 is set to be a busy year for corporate travel.”

-This FCM Consulting quarterly report draws on global data sourced from FCM Travel and Flight Centre Travel Group corporate booking data for travel during October to December 2023 (Q4-2023). The report uses Cirium aviation schedule data as at 18 January 2024. Airfare pricing variations exclude all taxes.

The hotel average room rate (ARR) quoted is the average booked rate using FCM Travel and Flight Centre Travel Group corporate booking data. Variations in rates booked are a reflection of seasonality, supply, and demand, booking lead times and variations in exchange rates. Unless otherwise stated all fares and rates are reported in US dollars. STR hotel data and content quoted as at January 2024 for period ending December 2023.


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