IATA's global passenger traffic results for
November 2014 show a continuation of the healthy demand trend of
Total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) rose
6.0% compared to November 2013, which was ahead of the 5.7%
year-on-year growth recorded in October as well as the 10-year
average growth rate of 5.6%. November capacity expanded by 5.4%,
leading to a 0.5 percentage point rise in the load factor to
Growth was driven primarily by domestic markets
which experienced a 6.9% increase in demand over the previous
November (an acceleration over the 5.3% year-to-date average for
domestic travel). Chinese domestic travel (which rose 15.4% over
the previous November) was the main contributor to this growth.
International travel, meanwhile, experienced a slight deceleration
in growth towards the end of the year.
"November demand was healthy, but the overall
picture is mixed. For example, strong traffic performance within
China and India has not carried over into international demand for
Asia Pacific carriers. And while lower oil prices should be
positive for economic activity, softening business confidence is
having a dampening effect on international travel," said Tony
Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
International Passenger Markets
November 2014 international passenger demand was
up 5.4% compared to the year-ago period, which was below the 6.1%
year-to-date growth trend. Capacity rose 5.9% and the load factor
dipped 0.3 percentage points to 75.1%. All regions except Africa
recorded year-on-year increases in demand. However, compared to
October, most regions reported slower demand growth for November.
European carriers’ demand for
international services rose 5.6% in November 2014 compared to the
year-ago period in spite of the region’s economic frailties and
risks. Robust travel on low cost carriers is behind much of the
growth. Capacity climbed 4.9% leading to a 0.5 percentage point
rise in the load factor to 77.7%.
Asia Pacific airlines recorded a 4.9%
demand increase compared to November 2013 amid signs of a slowdown
in regional production activity. Trade volumes have remained
strong, however. With capacity up 5.6%, the load factor slipped
0.5 percentage points to 74.6%.
North American airlines saw demand rise 2.0%
over the 2013 period. This was an improvement over growth of 1.6%
in October. November capacity rose 3.1%, causing load factor to
fall 0.8 percentage points to 76.8%. The US economy is a notable
bright-spot among developed economies, and recent gains in trade
volumes bode well for business-related travel.
Middle East carriers had the strongest
traffic growth at 11.7%. This was the fourth consecutive month of
double-digit year-on-year growth and the region’s economies are
comparatively well-placed to withstand plunging oil revenues.
Capacity rose 13.9% and load factor fell 1.4 percentage points to
Latin American airlines experienced a 4.9%
rise in demand in November. Capacity increased 5.7% and load
factor fell 0.6 percentage points to 78.8%. Despite the decline,
the load factor was the highest for any region. Although major
economies in the region have been weak, the strength of the US
economy has supported traffic carried by the region's airlines.
African carriers were the only ones to see
a decline in demand: November traffic fell 2.5% compared to the
same month in 2013. Capacity fell 3.1%, causing load factor to
rise 0.4 percentage points to 63.8%, the lowest for any region.
Passenger volumes for the region’s carriers are back at late 2012
levels. The recent weakness appears to reflect adverse economic
developments in parts of the continent including Nigeria, which is
highly reliant on oil revenues. The impact on traffic owing to the
Ebola outbreak is largely restricted to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra
Leone (markets that comprise a very small proportion of overall
Domestic Passenger Markets
Demand for domestic travel rose 6.9% in November
2014 compared to the year-ago period, an acceleration of the
October increase of 5.9%. Total domestic capacity was up 4.5% and
load factor climbed 1.7 percentage points to 79.3%.
China’s domestic traffic soared 15.4% compared
to November 2013, the strongest performance for any market. In
fact, two-thirds of the total increase in domestic RPKs over the
last few months is attributable to gains in the Chinese domestic
market. This is occurring in spite of ongoing signs of a slowdown
in the Chinese economy and industrial activity, although consumer
surveys and retail sales data remain robust.
Australia’s domestic demand was virtually
flat year-over year and traffic volumes have largely remained
stagnant since mid-2013. The economy is struggling to rebalance
away from mining investment-led growth.
Aviation is a vital driver of the global
economy. Last month IATA issued an updated outlook forecasting
industry earnings of $25 billion in 2015. While this appears
large, at the global level, on revenues of $783 billion, a $25
billion profit represents a margin of just 3.2% or around $7 per
passenger. And it is spread over a highly-fragmented and
hyper-competitive industry with many hundreds of players, some of
whom are making sustainable returns and many of whom are
"Nonetheless, the industry is investing to
improve the passenger experience. This year we expect to see some
implementation of the New Distribution Capability, giving
travelers the ability to view and purchase all of an airline’s
products and services wherever they shop for air travel. And more
passengers will have access to Fast Travel options such as
self-boarding and self-tagging of luggage that offer convenience
and time-savings and give them greater control over their
journey," said Tyler.
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