IATA Members Post Highest Monthly Load Factor Since 1990

Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw

IATA has released global passenger traffic data for August 2018 showing that demand (measured in total revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) climbed 6.4% compared to the year-ago period. This was slightly above the 6.1% annual increase for July. 

August capacity (available seat kilometres or ASKs) increased by 5.5%, and load factor climbed 0.7% percentage point to 85.3%, which was the highest for any month since at least 1990. 

"The industry experienced continued strong traffic growth in August, putting the cap on a very good peak travel season. The all-time record load factor reflects that airlines are maximizing the efficiency of their assets at a time of rising fuel prices and other costs that are limiting the opportunities for low fare stimulation," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.     

August international passenger demand rose 5.6% compared to August 2017, in line with 5.5% year-over-year growth achieved in July. All regions recorded increases, led by airlines in the Asia-Pacific region. Capacity climbed 5.1%, and load factor edged up 0.4 percentage point to 85.0%.

North American airlines’ international demand rose 3.7% compared to August a year ago. While this was a slowdown from 4.1% growth recorded in July, this largely reflected developments a year ago rather than any change in the current healthy trend. Capacity rose 3.3%, and load factor grew by 0.4 percentage point to 87.2%. 

Demand for domestic travel around the world climbed 7.7% in August compared to August 2017, up from the 7.2% growth recorded in July. Capacity rose 6.2% and load factor increased 1.2 percentage points to 85.7%. All markets reported demand increases albeit with wide variation.

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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