• Monday, July 15, 2024
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BusinessDay

‘Global passenger demand in January signals solid start to 2015’

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced newly released global passenger traffic result for January 2015 has a traffic growth (Revenue Passenger Kilometers or RPKs) of 4.6 percent compared with January 2014.

January capacity increased by 5.2 percent and load factor slipped 0.5 percentage points to 77.7 percent, according to IATA.

While domestic markets drove growth in the latter part of 2014, international traffic was stronger in January.

“January traffic did not maintain the rate of growth attained in 2014; nevertheless, we are seeing healthy albeit slightly slower growth in the demand for air services. While January was a relatively positive start for the year, we cannot look ahead without seeing some significant risk factors in the macro-economic and political environment,” Tony Tyler, IATA’s director-general, said.

Tyler said that in the survey, “all regions recorded year-over increases in demand except for Africa.

“European carriers’ international traffic climbed 5.0 percent in January compared to the year-ago period, which was the largest increase among the three biggest regions. Capacity rose 4.6 percent and load factor rose 0.3 percentage points to 77.7 percent.

“Air travel growth in Europe reflects robust travel on low cost carriers as well as on airlines registered in Turkey which is helping to overcome some of the impact on travel of the ongoing economic weakness in the region.”

According to the report, Asia-Pacific carriers recorded an increase of 4.7 percent compared with January 2014, which is below the 2014 annual trend of 5.8 percent expansion, in addition, the seasonally-adjusted level of traffic has been broadly flat over the past five months.

North American airlines saw demand rise 2.7 percent in January over a year ago. While this was the weakest traffic growth for all regions save Africa, the US economy is a stand-out performer among developed economies where capacity rose 3.8 percent, pushing down load factor 0.9 percentage points to 79.5 percent.

Middle East carriers had the strongest year-over-year traffic growth in January at 11.4 percent. Markit’s measures of business activity in non-oil sectors in the region’s economies continue to show improvement, suggesting Middle Eastern economies are comparatively well-placed to withstand the plunge in oil revenues. Capacity rose 13.3 percent and load factor dipped 1.3 percentage points to 79.7 percent.

African airlines saw January traffic slip 0.7 percent compared with January 2014.

“The weakness in international air travel for regional carriers is not believed to be attributable to the Ebola outbreak. Rather, it appears to reflect negative economic developments in parts of the continent including Nigeria, the continent’s largest economy, which is suffering from the collapse in oil prices. With capacity up 0.7 percent, load factor fell 1.0 percentage point to 68.1 percent, the lowest among the regions,” Tyler said.

Sade Williams