IATA's global passenger traffic data for April
2018 shows that demand (revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) rose
by 6.2% compared to April 2017, which was down from a 12-month
high of 9.7% in March.
Comparisons with the year ago period are
impacted by developments a year ago – including the comparatively
late timing of Easter in 2017, which boosted April traffic. April
capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 5.9%,
and load factor climbed 0.2 percentage point to 82.3%, which was a
record for the month of April, surpassing last year’s record of
"Demand for air transport continues to be above
the long-term trend. However, increases in airline cost inputs,
most notably fuel prices, means that we are unlikely to see
increased stimulation from lower fares in 2018, compared to
previous years," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General
International passenger demand rose 4.8% in
April 2018 when compared to April 2017. All regions recorded
year-on-year traffic increases but all were behind the pace of
growth reported in March. Total capacity climbed 4.9%, and load
factor slipped 0.1 percentage point to 81.4%.
Asia Pacific carriers posted an 8.5%
traffic rise in April, strongest among the regions. It was the
first time since December 2017 that Asia-Pacific airlines led in
growth. Passenger traffic has continued to trend upwards at an
annualized rate in the region of 10%, supported by robust regional
economic expansion and ongoing growth in the number of flight
options, which translates into time savings for passengers.
Capacity rose 7.6% and load factor improved 0.6 percentage point
Middle East carriers saw demand rise 4.1%
in April. Capacity climbed 3.2% and load factor rose 0.7
percentage point to 77.2%. The seasonally-adjusted upward trend in
traffic has strengthened since the start of the year, aided by
healthy growth on the key routes to/from Asia and Europe, as well
as continuing signs of recovery on the market segment to/from
North America. Annual comparisons are likely to become more
favorable in coming months, owing to the disruptions caused by the
proposed travel bans to the US and the since-lifted ban on large
portable electronic devices in the year-ago period.
European airlines’ April traffic increased
3.4% compared to the year-ago period. While this was down compared
to the 9.8% year-on- year growth recorded in March, demand picked
up in April in seasonally-adjusted terms. Capacity rose 4.0%.
While load factor dipped 0.5 percentage point to 84.6%, it still
was highest among the regions.
North American airlines posted a 0.9%
demand increase compared to April a year ago, which was sharply
down compared to the 9.5% growth experienced in March. Comparisons
to the year-ago period are distorted by the huge pick-up in
traffic in April 2017. A bounce back is expected in May, supported
by the relatively strong economic backdrop in the US. Capacity
climbed 2.4%, and load factor fell 1.2 percentage points to 80.7%.
Latin American airlines experienced a 6.4%
rise in April demand compared to the same month last year.
Capacity rose 7.5% and load factor slipped 0.8 percentage point to
81.4%. While the year-over-year traffic increase in April was
roughly half that of March, the bigger picture remains bright,
with seasonally-adjusted traffic volumes having grown at
double-digit annualized rates over the past six months.
African airlines’ had a 5.1% traffic
increase in April. Capacity rose 4.6%, and load factor edged up
0.4 percentage point to 72.8%. The upward demand trend remains
strong, helped by continuing signs of improvement in the region’s
largest economies: Nigeria and South Africa. This is only the
fourth time in the past 41 months that both economies have been on
an upward trajectory at the same time.
Domestic Passenger Markets
Demand for domestic travel climbed 8.5% in April
compared to April 2017, propelled by double-digit annual growth in
India and China, Capacity increased 7.6%, and load factor rose 0.7
percentage point to 84.0%. All markets reported demand increases.
Australia’s domestic traffic increased
3.4% year-on-year in April – a slowdown from March, but still well
above the five-year average pace of 1.6%.
India’s airlines recorded double-digit
annual growth (26.4%) for the 44th consecutive month, with
passenger demand continuing to be supported by a combination of
strong economic and network expansion.
IATA AGM: In just a few days, commercial
aviation’s center of gravity will shift to Sydney, Australia, for
IATA’s 74th Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit
(3-5 June, 2018).