IATAís global passenger traffic results for
April 2014 show a healthy increase in demand.
Total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) rose
7.5% compared to April 2013, an improvement over March growth of
The year-on-year comparison is somewhat
biased by the timing of the Easter holiday, which occurred in
April 2014, a month later than in 2013. April capacity increased
5.8%, propelling load factor up 1.2 percentage points to 79.4 %.
"Aprilís demand growth was a pleasant surprise
in the face of the moderating trend of recent months but it is not
clear whether the acceleration in demand is sustainable in view of
global economic trends including slower growth in China," said
Tony Tyler, IATAís Director General and CEO.
International Passenger Markets
April international passenger demand was up 8.5%
compared to the year-ago period with airlines in all regions
recording growth and the strongest gains among Middle East
carriers. Capacity rose 6.9% and load factor climbed 1.2
percentage points to 79.0%.
Asia Pacific carriersí traffic rose 6.7%
compared to the year-ago period but capacity rose 7.7% and load
factor slipped 0.7 percentage points to 75.7%. Economic conditions
in the region do not support further acceleration in demand
growth, with China continuing to show weakness and Japan starting
to see some reversal of previous growth momentum. In Japan, a
recent sales tax increase caused indicators for economic activity
to decline sharply in April.
European carriers saw demand climb 7.9% in
April versus April 2013. Economic activity in the Eurozone
continues to improve, albeit at rates that are below expectations.
Capacity rose 5.4% and load factor climbed 1.9 percentage points
to 81.4%, the highest for any region.
North American airlines experienced a 4.9%
rise in traffic compared to April a year ago. Capacity rose 3.3%
pushing load factor up 1.2 percentage points to 80.8%. Data
suggest that underlying growth trends in business activity are
positive and downward pressure on employment is easing, which
should support stronger growth in air travel demand in coming
Middle East carriersí demand soared 18.6%
in April, easily the strongest growth for any region. Capacity
climbed 13.1% and load factor jumped 3.8 percentage points to
80.8%. Airlines in the Middle East continue to benefit from the
strength of regional economies and solid growth in
business-related premium travel.
Latin American airlinesí traffic rose 8.2%
compared to April 2013. The outlook for Latin American carriers
remains broadly positive, with continued robust performance of
economies such as Colombia, Peru and Chile, and the upcoming
demand to be generated by the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. On the
downside, however, trade volumes have made no progress this year
compared to the highs reached at the end of 2013, suggesting that
acceleration in business-related travel is unlikely in the near
term. Capacity rose 5.2% and load factor climbed 2.2 percentage
points to 79.1%.
African airlines had the weakest demand
growth, with traffic up 3.9% compared to April 2013, while
capacity rose 8.1%, resulting in a 2.7 percentage point drop in
load factor to 66.2%, the lowest load factor for any region. The
weakness could be in part reflecting adverse economic developments
in some parts of the continent, including the slowdown of the
major economy of South Africa.
Domestic Passenger Markets
Domestic travel demand rose 5.8% in April
compared to April 2013, with the strongest growth occurring in
Brazil, China and Russia. The timing of the Easter holiday, which
fell in April this year and in March a year-ago, had a positive
influence on comparisons in some markets. Total domestic capacity
was up 3.9%, and load factor rose 1.4 percentage points to 80.2%.
Brazil, China and Russia saw near or above
double digit, with economic growth significant enough in China and
Russia to sustain strong expansion in domestic air travel. Growth
in Brazil was also very strong. Although economic fundamentals do
not support the acceleration seen in 2014 so far, there could be
some positive impacts of preparation for the FIFA World Cup.
Japanís domestic air travel market saw
demand rise 5.4% in April compared to a year ago, but this is a
slowdown on growth year-to-date (7.9%). An increase in the sales
tax could erode some of the previous progress made by the
government to boost growth and domestic consumption. It has
appeared to already have weakened the demand base for air travel.
"In just a few days, the world air transport
community will gather in Doha, Qatar for the 70th IATA Annual
General Meeting. The strong demand for air travel recorded in
April reinforces aviationís importance as an enabler of global
economic growth and job creation, while the slowdown in Japanís
demand growth illustrates the sensitivity of the sector - and the
economic benefits that it provides - to taxes. All those visiting
the Gulf for the AGM will have a unique opportunity to see the
potential for aviation to drive development when in a
business-friendly environment and with the right infrastructure,"
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