IATA Reports Continuing Strong Passenger Demand In March
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reports that passenger demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometers, or RPKs) rose 6.8% in MAR 2017, compared to the same month a year ago. Capacity grew 6.1% and load factor climbed by half a percentage point to 80.4%, a record for the month.
March demand growth represented a moderate slowdown relative to performance in February after adjusting for the distortion in the year-to-year comparisons owing to the extra day in February 2016. The imposition of the ban on large electronics in the cabin on certain routes to the U.S. and UK occurred too late in March to have an effect on traffic figures.
"Strong traffic demand continued throughout the first quarter, supported by a combination of lower fares and a broad-based upturn in global economic conditions,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
“The price of air travel has fallen by around 10% in real terms over the past year and that has contributed to record load factors. We will have to wait another month to see the impact of the laptop ban on demand."
The picture wasn’t so rosy close to home, as North American airlines posted a 2.7% traffic rise in March compared to the year-ago period. Capacity climbed 3.7% and load factor slipped 0.7 percentage points to 79.8%. IATA says passenger traffic in the region has trended sideways in seasonally-adjusted terms since July 2016, alongside a similar trend in capacity.