Global air travel demand loses steam: IATA

GLOBAL air traffic results for May indicate a general downward trend in demand – in line with deteriorating global economic conditions, according to the latest report from IATA.

While air passenger demand was 4.5 per cent ahead of levels in May 2011, growth was flat compared to April. Capacity increased by 4.0 per cent and load factors stood at 77.6 per cent.

International passenger demand was up 5.6 per cent compared to May 2011, well below the 7.1 per cent growth recorded in April. All regions, except the Middle East, saw growth in passenger demand slow in May compared to April. A 4.1 per cent capacity expansion, however, helped improve load factors from 75.9 per cent in May 2011 to 77.0 per cent for the current month.

Asia-Pacific carriers registered a 5.5 per cent expansion in demand over the previous year period. This was ahead of capacity expansion of 3.1 per cent, pushing load factors to 75.4 per cent. In April, the region’s carriers recorded 8.6 per cent growth – heavily skewed due to the impact of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Compared to April, demand actually declined 0.8 per cent, while load factors slipped 0.4 percentage points.

Domestic passenger markets grew by 2.7 per cent, slightly less than half the rate of international markets. This was significantly below the 4.1 per cent year-on-year growth recorded in April. Load factors of 78.8 per cent were 0.8 percentage points below the 79.6 per cent reported for May 2011.

Japan experienced the strongest domestic traffic growth, up 14.8 per cent year-on-year. Load factors of 58.4 per cent were the lowest among major domestic markets.

China’s domestic demand slowed to growth rates last seen in early 2011. Traffic rose 4.4 per cent against an 8.3 per cent increase in capacity, pushing load factors down to 78.6 per cent. Compared to April, domestic demand was virtually unchanged.

Indian domestic traffic rose just 0.1 per cent year-over-year, but fell 2.7 per cent compared to April. Load factors stood at 76.8 per cent.

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