Global air passenger traffic demand rises 7.7 pct in May - IATA

James Marshall
July 7, 2017

That meant load factors - a measure of how full planes are - increased 1.2 percentage points to 80.1 percent, which IATA said was a record for the month.

North America came in at 4.8 per cent while Middle East carriers hit an eight-year low of 3.7 per cent growth compared to May last year. "However, passenger demand is likely to remain well supported during the upcoming peak travel months of July and August".

"Passenger demand is solid, " IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac said in a statement. And we don't foresee any weakening over the busy summer months in the Northern Hemisphere.

About the isolation of Qatar from its neighbours, IATA added, "rising trade protectionism and barriers to travel are worrying trends that, if unchecked, could impact demand". IATA said the stimulus will likely fade further in the context of rising airline cost pressures, while business confidence has softened.

Airlines filled a record percentage of seats in May as passenger demand remained strong and airfares in the second quarter fell about 6 per cent compared to a year ago. Total capacity climbed 5.7%, with the load factor rising 1.4 percentage points to 78.5%.

By contrast, Asia-Pacific airlines saw their traffic rise 10.5% in May compared to the month previous year. Capacity increased by 7.1% over the same period. Demand growth has been strongest, between 13-15%, on global routes within Asia as well as between Asia and Europe. Meanwhile, traffic on inter-Asia routes remains robust.

Air cargo demand rebounded for Middle East carriers in May, posting 10.2% YOY growth, compared to 3.1% YOY growth in April. However, growth rates in India are moderating from the heady 20% plus seen in past two years.

IATA said: "While growth has slowed of late, the comparatively healthy regional economic backdrop, coupled with the strength of the USA dollar, should support outbound passenger demand, although the latter impacts inbound demand".

Latin American airlines experienced a growth in demand of 6.7% in May 2017 compared to the same period in 2016. Airlines are coping well with some political and economic volatility in the region.

De Juniac expressed support for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's recent decision to forego expanding its ban on personal electronic devices larger than a cell phone in airplane cabins in favor of new, "enhanced" security measures scheduled for introduction in the coming months. But in April, Russia overtook India by witnessing 16.7% growth as opposed to India's 15.3%.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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