The global airline industry exceeded the overall 2019 benchmark index score for the second quarter in a row, as the strong revenue run continued in the third quarter of this year.

The overall score of 102 (2019 = 100) marked a rise of one point from the 30 June 2023 score of 101. The latest score is an increase of 48 from the first index, which covered the second quarter of 2020.

Amid only slight movements from the previous index, the latest data reflects post-Covid ‘normalisation’, which means most of the ‘low-hanging fruits’ during the pandemic recovery – which sometimes caused metrics to rocket quarter-over-quarter, particularly as global travel markets reopened – have been exhausted.

The revenue score of 116 was a rise of one point from the second quarter and continued to outpace passenger numbers, which, at 95, still trail 2019 levels.

The workforce score was up one point at 98, while fleet size rose by two points to achieve parity with 2019.

At the index’s lowest points in the Covid-19 crisis, workforce and fleet bottomed out at 81 and 95 respectively, compared with a revenue low of 20 and a lowest passenger-number score of 10.

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, and revenue and passenger numbers at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Notes: Data from reporting for the three-month period to 30 September 2023 (or nearest half-year period), taken from public 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 that report quarterly or half-yearly results from FlightGlobal’s World Airline Rankings. Overall score is an average of the four individual metrics.