IATAs global passenger traffic results for
February 2016 show continuing strong demand growth for domestic
and international travel.
Total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs)
rose 8.6%, compared to the same month last year. Monthly capacity
(available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 9.6%, and load
factor declined 0.7 percentage points to 77.8%.
"In the first two months of 2016, demand for
passenger connectivity is off to its strongest start in eight
years. However, February was the first month since the middle of
2015 in which capacity growth exceeded demand, which caused the
global load factor to decline. It is unclear whether this signals
the start of a generalized downward trend in load factor, but it
bears watching," said Tony Tyler, IATAs Director General and CEO.
February international passenger demand rose
9.1% compared to February 2015, which was an increase over the
7.3% yearly increase recorded in January. Airlines in all regions
recorded growth. Total capacity climbed 9.9%, causing load factor
to slip 0.6% percentage points to 76.6%.
European carriers saw February demand
increase by 7.7% compared to a year ago. Traffic has recovered
following disruptions in the 2015 fourth quarter related to
airline strikes and the shutdown of Transaero in Russia. Capacity
climbed 7.8% and load factor dipped 0.1 percentage points to
Asia Pacific airlines February traffic
rose 11.2% compared to the year-ago period. Capacity increased
10.3% and load factor climbed 0.7 percentage points to 78.3%.
Comparisons with 2015 are distorted by the timing of the Lunar
Year celebrations, which took place in February this year. Slower
economic growth in many of the regions economies has been at
least partly offset by the 7.3% increase in the number of direct
airport connections within the region, which has helped to
stimulate passenger demand.
North American airlines traffic climbed
3.6%, which was the slowest among the regions and was exceeded by
a capacity expansion of 4.8%. In turn, this caused load factor to
fall 0.9 percentage points to 75.9%. US airlines have been
focusing on the larger and more robust domestic market, although
that market is showing signs of slowing in recent months.
Middle East carriers had an 11.3% demand
increase in February compared to a year ago. This was exceeded,
however, by a 16.9% rise in capacity that caused load factor to
drop 3.7 percentage points to 73%. Traffic growth has now lagged
capacity growth for six consecutive months.
Latin American airlines saw February
traffic jump 10.4% compared to February 2015. Capacity increased
by 10.1%, boosting load factor 0.2 percentage points to 79.8%,
highest among the regions. Domestic passenger demand remains under
pressure from economic difficulties in the regions biggest
economies, but this seems not to be affecting business-related
African airlines posted the strongest
demand growth among the regions with February traffic up 12.7%
compared to a year ago. The pick-up indicates that carriers here
are regaining market share through efforts to rationalize networks
and enhance revenue management systems, after several difficult
years. It also aligns with a jump in exports from Africa. Capacity
rose 13.4%, and load factor slipped 0.4 percentage points to
Domestic travel demand rose 7.9% in February
compared to February 2015, which was an increase over growth of
6.9% in January. All markets except Brazil showed growth, with the
strongest increases occurring in India, the US and China. Domestic
capacity climbed 9.0%, and load factor fell back.0.8 percentage
points to 79.7%.
The seven domestic passenger markets for which
broken-down data are available account for 30% of global total
RPKs and approximately 82% of total domestic RPKs.
India led all domestic markets again with
a 24.6% year-on-year growth, supported by the strong economic
backdrop, as well as notable increases in services. This trend is
expected to continue with flight frequencies in 2016 scheduled to
increase by 11.5% year-on-year.
Brazils domestic market decline may be
starting to bottom out but the highly uncertain economic and
political outlook could pose challenges for airlines in the
Attack on Humanity
"On March 22 we had a grim reminder that
transportationincluding aviationremains a target for terrorism.
The attacks in Brussels were an attack on humanitya terrible
tragedythat was met with resilience. The subway is back in
operation. And the airport is working hard to return to normal
operations that will reconnect Europes capital with the world.
Aviation is a force for good. And we are once again proving that
terrorists will never succeed in destroying the fundamental urge
of people to travel, explore and learn about the world," said
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