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Monthly civil aviation statistics, September 2022

Released: 2022-11-24

Highlights

Major Canadian airlines carried 6.0 million passengers on scheduled and charter services in September, about double the number of passengers carried in September 2021 and 86.6% of the September 2019 level, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The passenger load factor (the ratio of passenger-kilometres to available seat-kilometres) was 83.4% in September, essentially the same as the 83.6% recorded pre-pandemic in September 2019.

The $2.1 billion operating revenue earned in September was 96.3% of that earned before the pandemic in September 2019.

Back to class and return to work

Students going back to class and workers returning from summer holidays meant the usual seasonal decline in demand for air travel in September, helping to clear up bottlenecks that plagued airports in Canada during the summer months. At the same time, some of the new hires—baggage handlers and security screeners, for example—had completed their training, helping to ease resource constrains.

Towards the end of September, the Government of Canada announced that nearly all remaining COVID-19 travel restrictions and requirements would expire on September 30. Therefore, as of October 1, passengers are no longer required to fill out the ArriveCAN app, undergo random testing on arrival, or wear masks on flights or at airports. Unvaccinated travellers no longer have to quarantine or undergo testing.

On March 11, 2020, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. In the months that followed, Canadian air travel remained well below historical levels. Unless otherwise specified, comparisons for a given month are made with the same month in 2019 (also referred to as "pre-pandemic levels"), when airline activity levels were in line with historical trends.

Recovery continues in September

Canadian Level I air carriers flew 6.0 million passengers on scheduled and charter services in September, reaching 86.6% of the pre-pandemic level reported in September 2019—the highest recovery proportion so far during the pandemic. While resource constraints limited the recovery in August, leading to a decline in proportion of pre-pandemic levels compared with July, the proportion increased again in September.

Infographic 1  Thumbnail for Infographic 1: Passengers carried by Canadian Level I air carriers, monthly, 2019 to 2022
Passengers carried by Canadian Level I air carriers, monthly, 2019 to 2022

As the summer holiday season ends and students return to school, passenger volumes typically decrease noticeably from August to September, with the decrease averaging 17.5% in the years 2015 to 2019, before the pandemic. In 2022, the monthly decrease was smaller, at 12.6%, with passenger numbers declining on both domestic and international flights, as per usual.

With traffic at 16.5 billion passenger-kilometres and capacity at 19.8 billion available seat-kilometres, the passenger load factor was 83.4% in September, essentially the same as the 83.6% recorded in September 2019, before the pandemic.

Each passenger travelled an average of 2,758 kilometres in September, down 2.2% from September 2019.

At 157,000, the number of flying hours in September was 84.4% of the pre-pandemic level.

Operating revenue earned by Level I air carriers totalled $2.1 billion in September, amounting to 96 cents for every dollar earned in the same month of 2019.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Passengers carried, Canadian air carriers, Level I
Passengers carried, Canadian air carriers, Level I

Chart 2  Chart 2: Passenger load factor, Canadian air carriers, Level I
Passenger load factor, Canadian air carriers, Level I

Chart 3  Chart 3: Turbo fuel consumed, Canadian air carriers, Level I
Turbo fuel consumed, Canadian air carriers, Level I

  Note to readers

The Monthly Civil Aviation Survey covers all Canadian Level I air carriers: Air Canada (including Air Canada Rouge), Air Transat, Jazz, Porter, Sunwing and WestJet (including Swoop, WestJet Encore and WestJet Link).

The average passenger trip length is calculated by dividing the number of passenger-kilometres by the number of passengers. Trips across Canada and around the world are included in this calculation.

The data in this monthly release are not seasonally adjusted.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or Media Relations (statcan.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.statcan@statcan.gc.ca).

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