Air Travel Demand Growth Continues In SEPT, Despite Hurricane Impact

Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw

The International Air Transport Association says its member airlines saw demand growth of 5.7% in September compared to the same month in 2016. While not an alarming number, this was the slowest year-on-year increase since February, with Hurricanes Irma and Maria weighing on the results.

Global capacity climbed 5.3% and load factor edged up 0.3 percentage points to 81.6%, a record for the month of September.

"September’s growth in passenger demand was healthy, notwithstanding the heavy impacts of extreme weather events on the Americas," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

"Global economic conditions support rising passenger demand, but with higher cost inputs, the demand stimulation from lower fares has waned, suggesting a moderating trend in traffic growth." 

International RPKs climbed 6.5% with airlines in all regions recording growth compared to 2016. Total capacity climbed 5.6%, and load factor rose 0.7 percentage points to 81.3%.

North American airlines experienced a 3.0% rise in demand in September. Capacity rose 3.6% and load factor fell 0.5 percentage points to 81.0%. In addition to the impacts of hurricanes Irma and Maria, IATA says anecdotal evidence continues to suggest that inbound traffic to the U.S. is being deterred by additional security measures now involved in traveling to the country.

Domestic demand climbed 4.2% in September compared to September 2016, heavily affected by weather disruptions in the U.S. market, which accounts for more than 40% of all domestic RPKs. Domestic demand in the U.S. dropped 1.2% during the month.

India and China continued to lead all markets with double-digit annual traffic increases while elsewhere, results were mixed. Capacity rose 4.7% and load factor slipped 0.4 percentage points to 82.2%.

Bruce Parkinson

Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief

An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.

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