International scheduled airline traffic results
for July 2009 show passenger demand declining 2.9% compared to the
same month in 2008, while freight demand was down 11.3%.
International passenger load factors stood at 80.3%.
The July 2009 passenger demand fall of 2.9% was a relative
improvement over the 7.2% drop in June 2009 and the 6.8% decline
recorded over the first seven months of the year.
was more in line with reduced demand than in previous months and
load factors are similar to those recorded in July 2008. These
positive developments, however, have come at the expense of yields
which continue to fall sharply.
The 11.3% decline
in cargo demand for July was also a relative improvement over the
-16.5% recorded in June and the -19.3% average for the first seven
months of the year. Despite this improvement, the July freight
load factor of 47.6% was lower than the 49% recorded in July 2008.
“Demand may look better, but the bottom line has not
improved. We have seen little change to the unprecedented fall in
yields and revenues. The months ahead are marked by many
uncertainties, including the price of oil. The road to recovery
will be both slow and volatile. In the meantime, the industry
remains in intensive care,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s
Director General and CEO.
All regions saw improved demand performance
compared to June, but significant differences by region should be
Asia Pacific carriers are experiencing the
extremes of this recession. The 7.6% fall in passenger demand
compared to July 2008, was the largest decline of any region. At
the same time, compared to the -14.5% recorded in June, the
relative improvement to -7.6% was also the biggest among all
regions. Economic growth returned during the second quarter in a
number of Asian economies, to a much larger extent than elsewhere.
This was likely the driver behind July’s better performance. The
impact on passenger confidence from Swine Flu (H1N1) was also
somewhat diminished as media coverage of the disease decreased.
European and North American carriers saw declines of 3.1% and
3.2% respectively. Passengers have been trading down to cheaper
seats in the face of recession pressures. Airlines have also been
leaving less expensive fares open for sale much longer (closer to
departures dates) in the face of excess capacity and intensifying
competition. The July improvement in travel demand was more the
result of deep discounting than stronger incomes or greater
Latin American carriers saw demand
decline by 3.5%. This was the only region to see a greater decline
in June than the seven month average which is -3%.
carriers saw a fall of 5.5% compared to the seven month average of
East was the only region to grow
in July. The 13.2% growth in July was slightly better than the
12.9% recorded in June. The growth was fueled by increased capacity
and greater market share in traffic between Europe and Asia.
International Air Freight
demand on international markets was 11.3% lower in July than a
year earlier, but was a considerably better result than the -16.5%
recorded in June. All regions, except Africa, saw improvement in
demand compared to June. The Middle East was the only region to
Falls by Asia Pacific carriers, European
carriers and North American carriers were 9.5%, 16.2% and 14.6%
African carriers posted the worst performance
at -25.9%. This was the only region to see a deterioration in
freight demand compared to June when the region’s carriers posted
a 20.2% decline compared to the same month in the previous year.
Middle Eastern carriers were the only region to grow,
posting a 1% growth in demand compared to July 2008.
American carriers posted a 1.2% fall in demand compared to July
numbers tell an interesting story. The sector is being boosted as
companies re-stock depleted inventories. Once inventories are at
desired levels in relation to sales, improvements in demand will
level off until business and consumer confidence returns. Given
the large amount of debt in all sectors of the economy, instant
relief is not in the forecast,” said Bisignani.
“Airlines need to make their money in the June-August peak travel
season. Planes are full. Load factors are high. But revenues are
way down. Conserving cash, effectively managing capacity and
cutting costs will be the long-term theme for every business in
the air transport value chain,” Bisignani added.
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