IATA's global passenger traffic data
for August 2019 shows that demand, measured in total revenue
passenger kilometers (RPKs), climbed 3.8% when compared to August
This was above the 3.5% annual increase for July.
August capacity, available seat kilometers (ASKs), increased by
3.5%. Load factor climbed 0.3% percentage point to 85.7%, which
was a new monthly record, as airlines continue to maximize asset
“While we saw a pick-up in passenger demand in
August compared to July, growth remains below the long-term trend
and well-down on the roughly 8.5% annual growth seen over the 2016 to
Q1 2018 period,” said Alexandre de
Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “This reflects the impact of economic slowdowns in some key markets, uncertainty over Brexit and the trade war
between the US and China. Nonetheless, airlines are doing a great
job of matching capacity to demand. With passenger load factors
reaching a new high of 85.7% this is good for overall efficiency
and passengers’ individual carbon footprint.”
international passenger demand rose 3.3% compared to August 2018,
improved from a 2.8% year-on-year growth achieved in July. With
the exception of Latin America, all regions recorded increases,
led by airlines in Africa. Capacity climbed 2.9%, and load factor
edged up 0.3 percentage point to 85.6%.
airlines’ August traffic increased 3.5% compared to the year-ago
period, which was an acceleration compared to a 2.6% rise in July.
However, this remains well below the long-term average growth rate
of around 6.5%, reflecting slowing economic growth in India and
Australia as well as the impact of trade disputes. Capacity rose
3.9% and load factor slid 0.4 percentage point to 82.8%.
European carriers saw August demand climb 3.7% year-to-year,
fractionally up over a 3.6% increase for July. Capacity rose 3.4%,
and load factor climbed 0.2 percentage point to 89.0%, which was
the highest among regions. Slowing economic growth in key markets
such as the UK and Germany, as well as uncertainties and disparate
business confidence outcomes are behind the softer conditions for
the continent’s air carriers.
Middle Eastern airlines
posted a 2.9% traffic increase in August, which was an increase
from a 1.7% rise in July. While this was better than the average
of the past twelve months, it remains far below the double-digit
growth trend of recent years. Falling business confidence in parts
of the region, combined with some key airlines going through a
process of structural change and geopolitical tensions are all
likely to be contributing factors. Capacity increased 1.3%, with
load factor rising 1.3 percentage points to 82.4%.
American carriers’ international demand rose 2.5% compared to
August a year ago, up from a 1.4% increase in July. Capacity rose
1.3%, and load factor grew by 1.0 percentage point to 88.3%. As
with the Middle East and Asia Pacific, this performance represents
an improvement from July, but remains relatively soft compared to
long-term norms, most likely reflecting trade tensions and slowing
Latin American airlines experienced a 2.3%
demand increase in August compared to the same month last year,
down from a 4.0% annual growth in July. Argentina’s financial and
currency crises, combined with challenging economic conditions in
Brazil and Mexico, contributed to the depressed performance.
Capacity fell 0.3% and load factor surged 2.1 percentage points to
African airlines’ traffic climbed 4.1% in August,
up from 3.2% in July. This solid performance comes after South
Africa – the region’s second largest economy – returned to
positive economic growth in Q2 2019. Capacity rose 6.1%, however,
and load factor dipped 1.4 percentage points to 75.6%.
Domestic Passenger Markets
Demand for domestic travel
climbed 4.7% in August compared to August 2018, unchanged from the
previous month. Capacity rose 4.6% and load factor increased 0.1
percentage point to 85.9%.
Australian airlines’ domestic
traffic slipped 0.4% in August compared to August a year ago,
which was a reversal from a 0.7% annual increase in July. Economic
growth in Australia slipped to its lowest level in several years
during the second quarter.
Russian airlines saw domestic
traffic climb 6.0% in August, down from 6.8% growth in July and
below the long-term average growth rate in the market of around
The 40th Assembly of the
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) ended last week
with significant progress made by governments in support of the
industry’s environmental goals. The Assembly passed a resolution
that reaffirmed and strengthened its support for the successful
implementation of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for
International Aviation (CORSIA), a global carbon
offsetting scheme, that begins in 2020. It also directed the ICAO
Council to report to the next Assembly on options for the adoption
of a long-term aspirational goal for reducing carbon emissions
from international aviation.
“It’s been 10 years since the
aviation industry agreed a long-term goal to cut aviation
emissions to half the levels of 2005 by 2050. This Assembly marks
the first time that ICAO member states have agreed to consider a
long-term goal for governments to reduce aviation emissions—a move
that is strongly welcomed by airlines, who recognize that
sustainability is critical to earning aviation’s license to grow
and to continue spreading its many economic and social benefits. From 2020—with the help of CORSIA—the sector’s growth
will be carbon-neutral. And with the strong support of governments
in areas such as commercializing sustainable aviation fuels and
improving the efficiency of air traffic management, we will
continue working toward our long-term goal,” said de Juniac.