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By many indications, the economic tides have turned. Inflation remains at 40-year highs, interest rates are rising at unprecedented speed, global stock markets are down over 20%, and layoffs from the once-booming tech sector continue to mount.

Download this reportWith U.S. consumer sentiment still at 2008 lows — after touching never-before-seen lows in June 2022 — the feeling of impending economic slowdown is palpable. Yet, airline travel and fares are rebounding at healthy rates, with the expected fall-off in passengers continuing to disappoint the bearish. Aviation and aerospace industry hiring proceeds at record rates while the industry prepares for a sentiment-defying record fourth quarter season amid “no signs of demand slowing,” according to Derek Kerr, American Airlines chief financial officer.

Related: A slowing global economy is still pushing aviation higher

For an industry that typically leads a recession and lags a recovery, the airlines are currently accomplishing the opposite. This TAC Analysis explores why the airlines are defying economic gravity and what it means as the world approaches economic slowdown.

The airline industry turned upside down by a global pandemic now faces forces opposite to those expected. With all of the attention given to recent new headwinds, we explore just how strong the macro-tailwinds of recovery are for the airlines — a data-driven view of the industry brought back into historical context.

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Courtney Miller is Managing Director of Analysis for The Air Current. Miller most recently spent 10-years with Bombardier Aerospace, serving as director, North America sales for the company’s commercial aircraft line and led airline marketing and analysis for the western hemisphere for airlines in North and South America and the community of global aircraft lessors. Miller is also founder of, where he merged industry history and analysis with insightful and beautiful data visualization to illustrate contemporary trends. Miller is a 3,000-hour U.S. airline pilot and began his career flying for U.S. regional airline Comair. He holds a Masters of Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle University and a Bachelors of Science in Aviation Technology from Purdue University. He is based in the Dallas, Texas Metroplex.

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