IATA: Strong Pax Demand Returns, Record February Loads
Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw
IATA member global passenger traffic results for February show a rebound in traffic growth following the slower demand experienced in January.
Total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) for the month rose 7.6%, compared to February 2017, up from 4.6% year-over-year growth in January. Monthly capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 6.3%, and load factor rose 0.9 percentage point to 80.4%, surpassing the previous record for the month of 79.5%, which was set in February 2017.
"As expected, we saw a return to stronger demand growth in February, after the temporary slowdown in January. This is being supported by the robust economic backdrop and solid business confidence. However, increases in fuel prices -- and labor costs in some countries -- likely will temper the amount of traffic stimulation from lower airfares this year," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
February international passenger demand rose 7.2% year-over-year, up from the 4.2% increase recorded in January. Led by airlines in Latin America, all regions recorded better year-on-year growth compared to January’s results. Total capacity climbed 5.9%, and load factor rose 1.0 percentage point to 79.3%.
North American airlines’ traffic climbed 7.2% in February, supported by the relatively vigorous U.S. economic backdrop, while the weaker U.S. dollar appears to be offsetting some of the negative impacts on inbound travel. Capacity rose 4.6% and load factor was up 1.9 percentage points to 78.0%.
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.