Business travel bounce back hits full throttle as 2024 sees seat capacity soar

One of the biggest impediments to recovery so far has been a lack of airline capacity and competition. Conditions are gradually improving, which is expected to benefit travellers as the year progresses, but the concern remains regarding the lack of available seats on services between Australia and Europe, via the Middle East.

Q3-2023 continued the trend from H1-2023, signalling a levelling of the rapid travel growth that started late 2021, and whilst travel demand was growing and positive, the increases have moderated for a third quarter, according to FCM Consulting’s latest Global Quarterly Trend Report.

The key outtake showed that Q1-2024 is forecast to have +71.8 million (+5.3 per cent) more seats (both domestically and internationally) than in 2019, for the same period. The final 2023 seat capacity is forecast to be -2.2 per cent down in 2019.

When we look at air seat growth regionally Africa leads the way with a predicted increase of 14 per cent, followed by the Middle East (up 11 per cent), Latin America (eight per cent increase), North America (up eight per cent), Asia (seven per cent rise), Australasia (flat), and Europe down two per cent.

As reported by IATA in August 2023, global Passenger Load Factors (PLF) were at 84.6 per cent, with domestic PLF sitting at 83.5 per cent, and international PLF reporting 85.4 per cent.

Domestic PLF across major markets was led by the USA at 84.5 per cent, followed by India (83.9 per cent), Brazil at 83.1 per cent, Japan (82.5 per cent), and Australia at 82.3 per cent.
International PLF was led by North America at 87.7 per cent, as the highest performing region compared to the lowest, Africa at 76.2 per cent.

Regarding accommodation, hotel occupancy levels averaged 68^ per cent per month in 2023. Over the past six months corporate average room rates (ARR) have plateaued, signalling rate stability. YTD-2023* ARR compared to 2022 in North America was USD$250, Australia/New Zealand USD$160, Europe USD$194, Asia USD$173, Middle East/Africa USD$203, and Latin America USD$128.

Regarding car hire, the global average daily rate (ADR) has increased by four per cent YTD**-2023 versus 2022. The ADR forecast is rate increases will stabilise to +2-3 per cent in 2024.

This FCM Consulting quarterly report draws on global data sourced from FCM and Flight Centre Travel Group corporate booking data, for travel from July to September 2023 (Q3-2023). The report uses Cirium aviation schedule data as of 23 October 2023. Airfare pricing variations exclude all taxes. The hotel average room rate (ARR) quoted is the average booked rate using FCM and Flight Centre Travel Group corporate booking data. Variations in rates booked reflect 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 were quoted as of 26 October 2023 for the period ending September 2023.



^ As reported by Amadeus for the period of January to August 2023.
*Average Room Rate booked across key corporate city locations for the period January to September 2023 vs same period 2022.
**YTD = Year to date for the period January to September 2023.


FCM Consulting Q3 2023 Global Trend Report

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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