Business travel spending expected to grow by 24% in 2023: Amex GBT

Global aviation capacity could reach 96% of pre-pandemic levels in 2023, says FCM

TORONTO — According to the latest stats from FCM Consulting, global aviation capacity is projected to reach 96% of pre-pandemic levels in 2023.

FCM is the corporate travel arm of Flight Centre Travel Group.

FCM’s latest Global Quarterly Trend Report showed that Q4-2022 seat capacity saw an 18% increase on Q4-2021 and was 13% down on Q4-2019. It also highlighted a minor dip in seat growth in Q4, with the 2022 full-seat capacity up 31% on 2021, but still down 17% on 2019.

FCM Consulting General Manager Felicity Burke adds that airfares are staying strong with global international business class fares in 2022 on average 15% more than 2019. Economy class fares were on average 12% higher in 2022 than they were in 2019.

“Predicting full-year 2023 seat capacity is a very long range forecast, nonetheless, airline schedules are offering just 4% less seats than in 2019. Q2-2023 heading into Northern Hemisphere summer shows optimistic travel signals,” said Burke.

Ashley Gutermuth, FCM Consulting Director for the Americas, offered her take on the North America market. “Distribution will continue to be a hot topic in the region, with major carrier content cutover deadlines looming. We will have to keep a close eye on what this will do to ticket prices, especially on historically corporate heavy routes,” she said.

Since FCM Consulting’s last report in October 2022, the top 20 global corporate airlines have reduced their forward schedules by 3%. The current global forecast across these airlines is an average of 10% seat growth from H2-2022 to H1-2023.

North America will still be leading the charge on airline capacity recovery in the first quarter of 2023, sitting at 101% of 2019 volume. Airfares from 11 months of 2022 versus the same period in 2019 saw a 10% fare increase in both business and discounted economy tickets, said Gutermuth.

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