IATA says global passenger traffic results for March 2018 show that demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometers, or RPKs) rose 9.5%, compared to the same month a year ago, the fastest pace in 12 months.
Capacity (available seat kilometers, or ASKs) grew 6.4% and load factor climbed 2.3 percentage points to 82.4%, which set a record for the month, following on the record set in February. All regions except for the Middle East posted record load factors.
"Demand for air travel remains strong, supported by the comparatively healthy economic backdrop and business confidence levels. But rising cost inputs -- particularly fuel prices -- suggest that any demand boosts from lower fares will moderate going into the second quarter," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
March international passenger demand rose 10.6% compared to March 2017, which was up from 7.4% year-over-year growth recorded in February. All regions showed strong increases. Total capacity climbed 6.6%, and load factor improved 2.9 percentage points to 81.5%.
North American airlines posted a 9.5% traffic rise in March compared to the year-ago period, well above the 5-year average growth rate of 3.6%. Capacity climbed 4.9% and load factor was up 3.5 percentage points to 83.5%, the second highest among the regions. IATA says the weakening U.S. dollar is having a positive effect on inbound traffic, while the comparatively robust domestic economic backdrop is supporting outbound demand.
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.