IATA's global air passenger traffic results for
May 2016 show that demand measured in RPKs (revenue passenger
kilometers) rose 4.6%, compared to the same month in 2015, which
was the same level achieved in April.
Capacity climbed 5.5%, which pushed the
average load factor down 0.7 percentage points to 78.7%. Demand
for domestic traffic rose 5.1%, outpacing international demand
growth of 4.3%.
"After a very strong start to the year, demand
growth is slipping back toward more historic levels," said Tony
Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO. "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-on-year. Airlines in all regions recorded growth. Total
capacity climbed 6.1%, causing load factor to slip 1.3 percentage
points to 77.1%.
Asia Pacific airlines’ traffic rose 5.1%
in May compared to the year-ago period. Capacity increased 6.4%,
which caused load factor to slide 1.0 percentage point to 75.1%.
Strong upward momentum has stalled in recent months with growth
tracking sideways since the beginning of the year.
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.
Middle East carriers had an 11.8% rise in
demand in May compared to a year ago, which was the largest
increase among regions. Capacity increased 15.6%, however, and
load factor dropped 2.4 percentage points to 71.9%. Growth in
capacity has now exceeded traffic growth in 18 of the past 20
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%.
Latin American airlines experienced a 5.1%
increase in traffic in May compared to the same month last year.
As with Europe, upward momentum has stalled. Capacity climbed 5.2%
and load factor was flat at 80.2%.
African airlines’ traffic rose 9.5%,
continuing the trend of strong growth that is linked to the
expansion of long-haul networks by the region’s carriers,
particularly Ethiopian Airlines. Capacity rose 10.4%, and load
factor slipped 0.5 percentage points to 64.5%.
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%.
US domestic traffic climbed 4.4% in May.
Having gone through a soft patch over the past six months in line
with softening indicators of business confidence, demand appears
to have resumed its upward trend.
Brazil’s traffic continued to contract in
May, falling 7.7% compared to a year ago amidst continuing
political and economic turmoil. It is down more than 10% in
seasonally-adjusted terms since early 2015.
"The shockwaves of the Brexit vote have extended
worldwide and the fallout will affect the air transport industry,
from both economic and regulatory perspectives. 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," said Tyler.
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