The latest Airline Business Index shows the global airline industry’s revenue during the third quarter of 2022 matched that seen in the same three months of 2019, marking the first time any of the survey’s four metrics have achieved that milestone since Covid-19 hit.

Lagging the strong financial metric, the passenger number figure of 82 reflects a common theme during the July-September earnings period: revenue outstripping pre-crisis levels on lower traffic.

That was driven by high yields in many markets, sometimes alongside a strong – albeit often weaker year-on-year – revenue contribution from cargo.

The small rises across all metrics in the most recent quarter follow a much more dramatic shift in the previous index, when the beginnings of the northern hemisphere summer season brought a surge revenues and passenger numbers, as Covid-19 restrictions fell away.

The overall score of 92 (2019 = 100), represents a rise of one point from the 30 June 2022 score of 91 and 13 from the 31 March score of 79. The latest score is an increase of 33 from the first index, which covered the final quarter of 2020.

Using data from 14 of the largest airline groups that release quarterly or half-yearly results – covering the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe – the index considers four metrics: size of workforce by employee number, size of fleet (in-service and stored), and revenue and passenger numbers at the end of the most recent reporting period – in this case, the third quarter of 2022.

It compares those figures with equivalent pre-crisis data from 2019.

Notes: Data from reporting for the three-month period to 30 September 2022 (or nearest half-year period), taken from publicly available records. Workforce and fleet sizes compared with end-2019 levels. Revenue and passenger number metrics compared with data from the equivalent period in 2019. Basket of 14 airlines based on the largest carriers/groups that report quarterly or half-yearly results from FlightGlobal’s World Airline Rankings based on revenues. Overall index score is an average of the scores for the four individual metrics.