IATA: Air Pax Demand Growth ‘Slipping Back’ To Historic Levels

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Global passenger traffic results for May show that demand rose 4.6% compared to the same month in 2015, the same level achieved in April – which was the lowest growth figure since January 2015. Capacity climbed 5.5%, which pushed the average load factor down 0.7 percentage points to 78.7%.

"After a very strong start to the year, demand growth is slipping back toward more historic levels,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General.

“A combination of factors are likely behind this more moderated pace of demand growth. These include continuing terrorist activity and the fragile state of the global economy. Neither bode well for travel demand. And the shocks of Istanbul and the economic fallout of the Brexit vote make it difficult to see an early uptick."

Annual growth in international RPKs slowed for the third consecutive month, to 4.3%, from 5% recorded in April year-over-year. Airlines in all regions recorded growth. Total capacity climbed 6.1%, causing load factor to slip 1.3 percentage points to 77.1%.

"The shockwaves of the Brexit vote have extended worldwide and the fallout will affect the air transport industry, from both economic and regulatory perspectives,” said Tyler. “Aviation plays a vital role in supporting economic growth and development. As the post-Brexit regulatory framework is negotiated between the EU and the UK it is critical that there are no steps backward for aviation connectivity."

North American airlines’ traffic climbed 0.5% as carriers continue to focus on the larger and stronger domestic markets. Capacity rose 1.9% and load factor fell 1.1 percentage points to 80.1%.

European carriers’ May demand climbed just 2.1% over May 2015, reflecting continuing fallout from the Brussels terror attack. Capacity rose 3.5% and load factor dipped 1.1 percentage points to 80.6%, which despite the decline still was the highest among regions.

Domestic demand rose 5.1% in May compared to May 2015, which was up from the 4% year-on-year growth recorded in April. Results were decidedly mixed, with Brazil, Russia and Japan all showing declines. Domestic capacity climbed 4.4%, and load factor rose 0.5 percentage points to 81.7%.   

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