THE International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic data for April 2018 showing that demand (revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) rose by 6.2 per cent compared to April 2017, which was down from a 12-month high of 9.7 per cent in March, although Africa rose 5.1 per cent.
“Demand for air transport continues to be above the long-term trend. However, increases in airline cost inputs, most notably fuel prices, means that we are unlikely to see increased stimulation from lower fares in 2018, compared to previous years,” said Alexandre de Juniac, the IATA’s Director General and CEO.
African airlines had a 5.1 per cent traffic increase in April. Capacity rose 4.6 per cent, and load factor edged up 0.4 percentage point to 72.8 per cent. The upward demand trend remains strong, helped by continuing signs of improvement in the region’s largest economies: Nigeria and South Africa. This is only the fourth time in the past 41 months that b
Other international passenger markets
April international passenger demand rose 4.8 per cent compared to April 2017. All regions recorded year-over-year traffic increases but all were behind the pace of growth reported in March. Total capacity climbed 4.9 per cent, and load factor slipped 0.1 percentage point to 81.4 per cent.
Asia Pacific carriers posted an 8.5 per cent traffic rise in April, the strongest among the regions. It was the first time since December 2017 that Asia-Pacific airlines led in growth.
Passenger traffic has continued to trend upwards at an annualised rate in the region of 10 per cent, supported by robust regional economic expansion and ongoing growth in the number of flight options, which translates into time savings for passengers. Capacity rose 7.6 per cent and load factor improved 0.6 percentage point to 81.0 per cent.
Middle East carriers saw demand rise 4.1 per cent in April. Capacity climbed 3.2 per cent and load factor rose 0.7 percentage point to 77.2 per cent.
The seasonally-adjusted upward trend in traffic has strengthened since the start of the year, aided by healthy growth on the key routes to/from Asia and Europe, as well as continuing signs of recovery on the market segment to/from North America.
Annual comparisons are likely to become more favourable in coming months, owing to the disruptions caused by the proposed travel bans to the US and the since-lifted ban on large portable electronic devices in the year-ago period.
European airlines’ April traffic increased 3.4 per cent compared to the year-ago period. While this was down compared to the 9.8 per cent year-over-year growth recorded in March, demand picked up in April in seasonally-adjusted terms. Capacity rose 4.0 per cent. While load factor dipped 0.5 percentage point to 84.6 per cent, it still was highest among the regions.
North American airlines posted a 0.9% demand increase compared to April a year ago, which was sharply down compared to the 9.5% growth experienced in March. Comparisons to the year-ago period are distorted by the huge pick-up in traffic in April 2017. A bounce back is expected in May, supported by the relatively strong economic backdrop in the US. Capacity climbed 2.4 per cent, and load factor fell 1.2 percentage points to 80.7 per cent.
Latin American airlines experienced a 6.4 per cent rise in April demand compared to the same month last year. Capacity rose 7.5 per cent and load factor slipped 0.8 percentage point to 81.4%. While the year-over-year traffic increase in April was roughly half that of March, the bigger picture. — IATA/GB