IATA: 2015 Air Travel Demand Highest In 5 Years

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic results for 2015 showing demand (revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) rose 6.5% for the full year compared to 2014.

The airline organization says this was the strongest result since the post-Global Financial Crisis rebound in 2010 and well above the 10 yr. average annual growth rate of 5.5%.

While economic fundamentals were weaker in 2015 compared to 2014, IATA says pax demand was boosted by lower airfares. After adjusting for distortions caused by the rise of the USD, global airfares last year were approximately 5% lower than in 2014.

"Last year’s very strong performance, against a weaker economic backdrop, confirms the strong demand for aviation connectivity. But even as the appetite for air travel increased, consumers benefitted from lower fares compared to 2014," said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General & CEO.

Annual capacity rose 5.6% last year, with the result that load factor climbed 0.6 percentage points to a record annual high of 80.3%. All regions experienced positive traffic growth in 2015 with carriers in the Asia-Pacific region accounted for 1/3 of the total annual increase in traffic.

International passenger traffic rose 6.5% in 2015 compared to 2014. Capacity rose 5.9% and load factor rose 0.5 percentage points to 79.7%.

Asia Pacific carriers recorded a demand increase of 8.2% compared to 2014, the largest increase among the 3 largest regions. North American airlines saw demand rise 3.2% in 2015, broadly unchanged from the growth achieved in 2014. Capacity rose 3.1%, edging up load factor 0.1 percentage points to 81.8%. 

European carriers’international traffic climbed 5.0% in 2015. Capacity rose 3.8% and load factor increased 1.0 percentage point to 82.6%, highest among the regions.

Middle East carriershit a milestone during the year. The grouphad the strongest annual traffic growth at 10.5% and as a result, the share of international traffic carried by Middle East airlines reached 14.2%, surpassing their North American counterparts (13.4%).

Traffic on Latin American airlines rose 9.3% in 2015. Capacity rose 9.2% and load factor inched up 0.1 percentage points to 80.1%. While key regional economies, particularly Brazil, have been struggling, overall traffic has been robust. 

African carriers had the slowest demand growth, up 3% - although even that was a significant jump over the .9% annual growth in 2014.

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