Global passenger traffic results for October showed a moderate acceleration of the robust demand trend of the last few months, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reports. In 2013, the airline industry will carry more than 3 billion passengers in a year for the first time.
Total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) rose 6.6 percent compared to October 2012, an improvement over the September increase of 5.2 percent. A capacity increase of 6.5 percent meant that load factor was virtually flat at 78.9 percent, IATA says.
“October traffic results reinforce expectations for a strong fourth quarter traffic performance in line with rising business confidence and better economic performance in the major advanced economies,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO.
October international passenger demand was up 6.9 percent compared to the year-ago period with airlines in all regions recording growth. Capacity rose 6.6 percent and load factor climbed 0.2 percentage points to 78.4 percent.
North American airlines saw demand rise 3.6 percent compared to October a year ago, an improvement on September growth of 2.3 percent. Recent indications suggest a more supportive business environment, with consumer confidence and business activity showing improvement throughout the third quarter, IATA noted. But rates of manufacturing and service sector growth are still well down on growth seen at the beginning of the year, suggesting international demand could remain close to year-to-date rates (2.8%) for the rest of 2013. Capacity rose 4.6 percent, resulting in a 0.8 percentage point decline in load factor to 81.4 percent.
Domestic travel demand rose 6.0 percent in October compared to a year-ago, largely driven by strong traffic growth in developing markets, IATA said. Total domestic capacity was up 6.3 percent, however, pushing load down 0.2 percentage points to 79.8 percent.
US domestic traffic rose 2.8 percent in October compared to October 2012, above the year-to-date growth of 1.7 percent, suggesting domestic traffic was not seriously impacted by the federal government shutdown that month. Capacity, however, rose 4.7 percent and load factor dropped 1.6 percentage points to 82.8 percent, which still was the highest for any market.
“On 1 January 2014, we will celebrate a century of scheduled commercial aviation…a landmark that provide an opportunity to reflect on the enormous contribution aviation makes to all of our lives. That contribution comes not from the fees and taxes with which governments continue to burden aviation and air travelers, but rather from the ability to bring people together, connect people to markets and to create opportunities for greater understanding among cultures,” said Tyler.