The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced healthy but moderating global passenger traffic results for November 2018.
Total revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) rose 6.2 percent compared to November 2017, a slight deceleration from 6.3 percent growth in October. Capacity (available seat kilometres or ASKs) increased by 6.8 percent over the year-ago period, and load factor dipped 0.4 percentage point to 80.0 percent. It was only the third time in two years that load factor fell on a year-to-year basis.
“Traffic is solid. But there are clear signs that growth is moderating in line with the slowing global economy. We still expect 6 percent demand growth this year. But trade tensions, protective tariffs and Brexit are all uncertainties that overhang the industry,” Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, said.
November international passenger demand rose 6.6 percent compared to the year-earlier period, up from 6.2 percent in October. All regions showed growth, led by carriers in Europe. Total capacity climbed 6.7 percent, and load factor dipped 0.1 percentage point to 78.4 percent.
European carriers saw demand increase by 9.0 percent in November 2018, which was a nine-month high. Given the mixed signs on the economic backdrop in the region, it is unclear whether this pace of growth can be sustained. Capacity climbed 9.1 percent and load factor slipped 0.1 percentage point to 82.1 percent, the highest load factor among the regions.
Asia-Pacific airlines’ November traffic climbed 6.0 percent compared to the year-ago period, up from 5.7 percent growth in October. Capacity also rose 6.0 percent and load factor was flat at 79.1 percent. Growth is underpinned by rising living standards and continuing expansion of options for travellers.
African airlines experienced a 5.7 percent rise in demand compared to November 2017, down from 6.4 percent in October but higher than the five-year average of 5.8 percent. Growth is occurring despite challenges in the continent’s largest economies, Nigeria and South Africa. Capacity rose 3.9 percent and load factor climbed 1.2 percentage points to 68.9 percent.