Global Passenger Demand “Healthy But Moderating” In November

Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw

IATA has announced what it is calling “healthy but moderating” global passenger traffic results for November 2018. 

Total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) rose 6.2% compared to NOV 2017, a slight deceleration from 6.3% growth in OCT. Capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 6.8% over the year-ago period, and load factor dipped 0.4 percentage point to 80.0%. This marked only the third time in two years that load factor fell on a year-to-year basis. 

“Traffic is solid. But there are clear signs that growth is moderating in line with the slowing global economy. We still expect 6% demand growth this year. But trade tensions, protective tariffs and Brexit are all uncertainties that overhang the industry,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

November international passenger demand rose 6.6% compared to the year earlier period, up from 6.2% in October. All regions showed growth, led by carriers in Europe. Total capacity climbed 6.7%, and load factor dipped 0.1 percentage point to 78.4%. The weakest area for growth was the Middle East, where demand grew by just 2.8% in NOV, while load factor slipped 1.9 percentage points to 69.0%. 

North American airlines’ traffic climbed 6.1%, in NOV, up from 5.7% the month before and well ahead of the five-year average rate of 4.0%. Capacity rose 3.8% and load factor edged up 1.7 percentage points to 80.6%. Demand is supported by comparatively strong momentum in the US economy.

European carriers saw demand increase by 9.0% in NOV 2018, a nine-month high. Given the mixed signs on the economic backdrop in the region it is unclear whether this pace of growth can be sustained. Capacity climbed 9.1% and load factor slipped 0.1 percentage point to 82.1%, the highest among the regions. 

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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