US international air travel exceeds pre-pandemic levels

Record 21.6 million international air travellers in December 2023
2024-01-21
/
/ New Delhi
Philadelphia
US international air travel exceeds pre-pandemic levels

Over six million Americans left the country for international destinations

The international air travel from United States exceeded 2019 levels for the first time in December 2023 with a record 21.6 million air travellers, about 102.5 pc of numbers in December 2019.
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December 2023 saw international travel from United States rebound over the record numbers registered in the pre-pandemic period, says a a report by the National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO). 

The report says that international air traffic passenger totals rose 102.5 pc from the December 2019 pre-pandemic total as 21.6 million persons travelled between the US and other countries via air. The report adds that it was a 15.4 pc increase from the same month in 2022 and went beyond the pre-pandemic level from 2019.

NTTO says that non-US citizens arriving in the US totalled 5.2 million during the last month of the year, an increase year-over-year of 19 pc, though this number continued to be lower than the pre-pandemic average by 7.6 pc, something that experts, including the US Travel Association, believe could be rectified with enhances such as making visa wait times faster and modernizing the international air travel experience.

Overseas visitor arrivals totalled 3 million in December, which is the 10th consecutive month that the US has seen over 2 million travellers enter the country, though it remains 88.1 pc of the pre-pandemic visitor volume from December 2019.

Over six million Americans left the country for international destinations, an increase of 12.6 pc year-over-year and exceeding the pre-pandemic level by 16.6 pc. The most popular countries for arrivals and departures in December were Mexico with 3.83 million, Canada at 2.56 million, the United Kingdom at 1.5 million, the Dominican Republic at 922,000 and Germany at 807,000, sats NTTO.

Regionally, European air travel to and from the US is growing year over year, yet remains 4.1 pc lower than the pre-pandemic totals. US departures to Europe rose 7.4 pc higher than in December 2019. 

South America, Central America and the Caribbean air travel to and from the US rose 19 pc year-over-year and grew 17.3 pc higher than its 2019 total.

NTTO adds that Asia remains the hardest hit, since its reopening to tourism was much later than many other regions in the world. While air travel between the US and Asia grew 38.5 pc from 2022, it remains 29.8 pc lower than its pre-pandemic level. 

Airports that served the most international travellers in December were New York JFK, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Newark. Airports that fly to the most US locations were London Heathrow, Cancun, Toronto, Mexico and Paris (CDG).

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