Monthly civil aviation statistics, December 2022
Major Canadian airlines carried 6.1 million passengers on scheduled and charter services in December 2022, more than one-and-a-half times the same month in 2021 and 85.1% of the December 2019 level, before the COVID-19 pandemic.
With traffic at 16.1 billion passenger-kilometres and capacity at 19.4 billion available seat-kilometres, the passenger load factor (the ratio of passenger-kilometres to available seat-kilometres) was 83.2% in December, in line with pre-pandemic levels.
Operating revenue earned in December reached pre-pandemic levels for the first time.
Overall, in 2022, Level I carriers transported 62.7 million passengers, which was nearly triple the number of passengers from 2021 and almost three-quarters (73.4%) of the 2019 volume.
Troublesome holiday travel season
Holiday travel in December typically makes for a busier month than November. In December 2022, several major winter storms occurred across the country on the busiest travel days, resulting in flight delays and cancellations. These disruptions were made worse by resource constraints.
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 pauses in December
Canadian Level I air carriers flew 6.1 million passengers on scheduled and charter services in December, which was 85.1% of the pre-pandemic level reported in December 2019, lower than the 90.1% proportion reached in November (compared with November 2019).
With traffic at 16.1 billion passenger-kilometres and capacity at 19.4 billion available seat-kilometres, the passenger load factor was 83.2% in December 2022, similar to the 83.6% recorded in December 2019, before the pandemic.
Each passenger travelled an average of 2,644 kilometres in December, up 3.0% from the pre-pandemic level.
At 163,000, the number of flying hours in December was 84.9% of the pre-pandemic level.
Operating revenue earned by Level I air carriers totalled $2.3 billion in December 2022, reaching pre-pandemic levels for the first time.
2022—A year of recovery
Over the course of the year 2022, Canadian Level I air carriers flew 62.7 million passengers, nearly triple the number of passengers carried in 2021, and almost three-quarters (73.4%) of the 2019 level.
The year began with a dip in air travel because of the Omicron variant and tightening travel restrictions. During the months that followed, restrictions were gradually relaxed, and passenger numbers continued to recover as a proportion of the same month pre-pandemic, rising from 37.9% in January to 83.8% in July.
After pausing in August—the busiest travel month of the year—because of resource challenges, recovery continued in the fall. Passenger counts reached just over 90% of pre-pandemic levels in October and November. In December, resource challenges came into play again and, in addition to bad weather over the holidays, led to air passenger counts retreating further from pre-pandemic levels.
After dipping to 55.6% in January 2022, the load factor continued to recover and, beginning in June, returned to typical levels of above 80% seen before the onset of the pandemic. In some months, the load factor exceeded pre-pandemic levels. The overall load factor for 2022 was 80.2%, an improvement over the 63.9% in 2021, and approaching the 84.3% recorded in 2019.
By December, the average distance travelled per passenger and total operating revenue for Level I carriers reached pre-pandemic levels. Overall, in 2022, these were at 97.9% and 83.0% of 2019 levels, respectively.
Did you know?
Today, February 23, is National Aviation Day.
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.
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; firstname.lastname@example.org) or Media Relations (email@example.com).