IATA's global passenger traffic data
for August 2018 shows that demand (measured in total revenue
passenger kilometers or RPKs) climbed 6.4% when compared to the
same month in 2017. This was slightly above the 6.1% annual increase
August capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs)
increased by 5.5%, and load factor climbed 0.7% percentage point
to 85.3%, which was the highest for any month since at least 1990.
"The industry experienced continued strong traffic growth
in August, putting the cap on a very good peak travel season. The
all-time record load factor reflects that airlines are maximizing
the efficiency of their assets at a time of rising fuel prices and
other costs that are limiting the opportunities for low fare
stimulation," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General
International Passenger Markets.
international passenger demand rose 5.6% compared to August 2017,
in line with 5.5% year-on-year growth achieved in July. All
regions recorded increases, led by airlines in the Asia-Pacific
region. Capacity climbed 5.1%, and load factor edged up 0.4
percentage point to 85.0%.
Asia-Pacific airlines’ August
traffic increased 7.5% compared to the year-ago period, which was
an acceleration compared to a 7.2% rise in July. Capacity rose
6.1% and load factor rose 1.1 percentage points to 82.6%. The
upward trend in passenger traffic remains very strong, supported
by structural changes, including ongoing rises in living standards
in the region, as well as more route options for passengers that
translate into time savings and ultimately stimulate demand.
European carriers saw August demand climb 5.1%
year-to-year, which was also an increase from the 4.5% growth
recorded in July. However, in seasonally-adjusted terms, growth
has tracked sideways since late spring. Capacity rose 4.5%, and
load factor climbed 0.5 percentage point to 88.9%, which was the
highest among regions. European demand is being affected by mixed
signs on the economy as well as possible disruptions from air
traffic control strikes.
Middle Eastern carriers
posted a 5.4% traffic increase in August, which was a slowdown
from 6.2% in July. Passenger volumes have trended upwards at an 8%
annualized rate since the start of the year. Capacity increased
6.3%, with load factor slipping 0.7 percentage point to 80.7%.
North American airlines’ international demand rose 3.7%
compared to August a year ago. While this was a slowdown from 4.1%
growth recorded in July, this largely reflected developments a
year ago rather than any change in the current healthy trend.
Capacity rose 3.3%, and load factor grew by 0.4 percentage point
Latin American airlines experienced a 4.8%
demand increase in August compared to the same month last year, up
from 3.5% annual growth in July. Capacity increased by 6.5% and
load factor slid 1.3 percentage points to 81.4%. Year-to-year
comparisons are distorted by the hurricane-related disruptions of
a year ago, and traffic has largely tracked sideways since April
in seasonally adjusted terms.
traffic climbed 6.8% in August. While this was a slowdown from the
7.4% growth recorded in July the bigger picture is that demand
remains strong, despite an increasingly challenging environment in
the continent’s largest economies. South Africa slipped back into
recession in the second quarter and business confidence in Nigeria
has moderated in recent months. Capacity rose 3.8%, and load
factor surged 2.2 percentage points to 78.2%.
Demand for domestic travel climbed 7.7%
in August compared to August 2017, up from the 7.2% growth
recorded in July. Capacity rose 6.2% and load factor increased 1.2
percentage points to 85.7%. All markets reported demand increases
albeit with wide variation.
Indian airlines achieved
their 48th consecutive month of double-digit traffic growth as
demand rose 22.6%. Traffic continues to be stimulated by sizeable
increases in the number of domestic routes served.
China airlines’ domestic traffic climbed 14.9% in August, which
was a four-month high. In both China and India, huge demand
increases are being supported by rising living standards and large
increases in the number of flight choices.
"Aviation is the business of freedom, reuniting friends
and families and connecting businesses to markets. To preserve
that freedom, air links need to be maintained. For that reason, it
is absolutely critical that UK and EU aviation negotiators achieve
a post-Brexit agreement. It is not just about permission for
flights to take off and land. Everything from pilots’ licenses to
security arrangements, and much more besides, needs to be agreed
upon. Mutual recognition of existing standards can address much of
this, but we cannot wait until the eleventh hour. An assumption
that ‘it will be all right on the night’ reveals little
understanding of the complexities involved. Preparations should be
made for every contingency, in an environment of far greater
transparency than we have seen to date," said de Juniac.
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