Flight Friday: Domestic & International Flights Compared To 2019

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For this week’s Flight Friday we look at some big numbers… domestic and international flights (cycles) compared to their equivalent month in 2019.

As a result of China abolishing their zero-COVID policy in December 2022, the return of domestic flights to 2019 levels was almost assured, due to the size of the Chinese domestic market. This is well represented in the data, which shows for the whole of 2023, domestic flights have been greater than the same months in 2019. July 2023 was over 6% higher, which is a little over 133,000 extra flights.


As for international, the removal of China’s zero-COVID policy has had some impact, but not as dramatic as domestic. As we are now in the heights of the northern hemisphere’s “summer schedule,” the international gap to 2019 has dropped below 8% for the first time since the pandemic. The gap is around 100,000 flights, which is being compensated for by the uptick in domestic flights.

Asia-Pacific and China still have a little way to go to get back to pre-COVID levels, and that should help these overall numbers through the remainder of the year. Maybe, just maybe, we will be back to 100% international flights late this year or early next.

This data was put together using Aviation Week’s Tracked Aircraft Utilization tool.

Daniel Williams

Based in the UK, Daniel is the Manager of Fleet, Flight and Forecast data for Aviation Week Network. Prior to joining Aviation Week in 2017, Daniel held a number of industry positions analyzing fleet data.