IATA has announced positive global passenger traffic results for January 2016, with demand up 7.1% compared to January 2015. This was ahead of the 2015 full year growth rate of 6.5%.
January capacity rose 5.6%, with the result that load factor rose 1.1 percentage points to 78.8% - the highest ever recorded for the 1st month of the year.
"January maintained the strong traffic growth trend seen in 2015, showing the resilience of demand for connectivity despite recent turmoil in equity markets,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General & CEO. “The record load factor is a result of strong demand for our product and airlines making the most productive use of their assets. Underlying conditions point to another strong year for passenger traffic, with the latest decline in oil prices likely providing additional stimulus for air travel growth."
All regions recorded year-over-year increases in demand.
North American airlines saw demand rise 2.4% in January. Capacity rose 1.3%, pushing up load factor 0.8 percentage points to 80.3%. North American international traffic growth was weakest among the regions.
Asia Pacific carriers recorded an increase of 10.3% compared to January 2015. Capacity rose 7.6%, pushing up load factor 2.0 percentage points to 79.2%.
European carriers’ international traffic climbed 4.2% in January compared to the year-ago period. Capacity rose 2.6% and load factor rose 1.2 percentage points to 78.8%. Airline strikes and the shutdown of Russia’s Transaero caused the region’s traffic to fall in the last quarter of 2015. Volumes have picked up somewhat in recent months.
Middle East carriers had the strongest year-over-year demand growth in January at 10.9%, helped by ongoing network and fleet expansion. Capacity rose 12.9% and load factor dipped 1.4 percentage points to 77.8%.
Latin American airlines’ traffic climbed 8.9% in January. Capacity rose 7.8% and load factor increased 0.8 percentage points to 82.5%, highest among the regions.
African airlines saw January traffic jump 12.1% compared to January 2015. This continues the strong upward trend in travel since mid-2015 that coincides with a rise in exports from the region. With capacity up 8.2%, load factor rose 2.5 percentage point to 71.3%.