Global air passenger traffic demand up 7.2 percent in October: IATA

Gladys Abbott
December 6, 2017

The organisation - which represents more than 270 airlines accounting for 83pc of global air passenger traffic - said that passenger demand jumped 7.2pc in October compared to October 2016, with demand in Europe rising 6.2pc year-on-year.

Worldwide passenger demand, measured in revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs), rose 7.3% in October versus the same period a year ago, according to IATA's latest data.

"On the other hand, the airline capacity growth in the other Asean markets is more aggressive, namely Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei". Meanwhile, airlines in the Asia-Pacific region witnessed an increase in freight volumes by 4.4 percent, and the capacity expanded by 3.9 percent in October 2017, compared to the same period past year.

Asia-Pacific airlines led all regions with traffic growth of 10.3% compared to the year-ago period, which was up from an 8.7% rise in September.

Middle East: Middle East carriers are forecast to see net profits improve to $600 million in 2018, up from $300 million in 2017.

As in Europe, the upward trend in RPKs has slowed.

Total capacity climbed by six per cent in the global passenger market segment, while load factor increased one percentage point to 79.4 per cent y-o-y, it said.

The global civil aviation body added that traffic had been heavily affected by the now-lifted ban on portable electronic devices, as well as from the proposed travel bans to the U.S.

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Passenger traffic demand rebounded in October after weather-related disruptions impacted September's numbers, IATA said in its monthly update.

Capacity rose 5.2% and load factor dropped 1.1 percentage points to 79.2%. Inbound travel to the U.S. seems to be deterred by the additional security measures now involved with travelling to that country.

North America: Airlines in this region are forecast to generate the strongest financial performance with net profits of $16.4 billion in 2018, up from $15.6 billion in 2017.

On a seasonally-adjusted basis, however, volumes are slightly below where they were three months ago. Capacity climbed 9.1%, and load factor slipped 0.3 percentage points to 82.6%.

Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong's de facto flagship airline, recorded a HK$2.05 billion loss (US$262 million) for the first half of this year and is on track to stay deep in the red over the next 12 months.

Global trade has also helped cargo operators, with an estimated 62.5 million tons of freight to be carried in 2018, constituting an increase of 4.5 percent from the 2017 forecast.

This reflects the nature of worldwide travel in the region, which is predominantly short-haul and highly-price sensitive.

After declining for six years in a row, passenger yields, a measure of ticket pricing, are also expected to rise by 3% next year, after falling 1.5% in 2017. The highest growing domestic markets were India, at 20.4 percent, and China, at 10 percent.

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