The Week in Travel Stats: End of Summer, Start of Fall

From a look at the latest air travel statistics for August to another peek at the top destinations for the fall, this week marked a change of seasons in the travel industry. 

London Tops AAA Destinations for Fall

In addition to warm-weather destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean, European cities top AAA’s list of the most popular international travel destinations.

AAA’s top destinations for international travel through July 2016, are:

AAA has also offered a series of tips to share with international travelers:

Plan ahead to make sure travel plans are not delayed by the passport application process. It can take up to six weeks to get a new passport, so allow plenty of time to secure the necessary documents. Some countries require that a traveler’s passport be valid for at least six months beyond the dates of the trip. Passport photos can be obtained at select local AAA offices.

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August Load Factor Hits Record 84.7 Percent

Also this week the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced global passenger traffic results for August showing a continuation of the strong growth in air travel demand for both domestic and international traffic. Total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) rose 7.1 percent compared to the year-ago period. August capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 5.9 percent, and load factor rose 0.9 percentage points to a record 84.7 percent.


August international passenger demand rose 7.1 percent compared to the same month last year, with airlines in all regions recording growth, led by Middle East carriers. Total capacity climbed 5.8 percent, pushing load factor up 1.0 percentage point to 85.2 percent.

Asia-Pacific airlines’ August traffic surged 7.7 percent compared to the year-ago period. Capacity rose 5.8 percent and load factor increased 1.5 percentage points to 82.5 percent. While emerging Asia has experienced notable declines in trade activity this year as well as slower than expected growth in China, neither factor appears to be impacting international air travel on the region’s carriers. 

European carriers saw traffic increase by 5.7 percent. Economic recovery in the Eurozone is supporting demand for international travel. Capacity climbed 4.1 percent and load factor rose 1.3 percentage points to 88.3 percent, highest among the regions.

North American airlines’ traffic rose 4.5 percent year-over-year. Capacity climbed 3.7 percent and load factor rose 0.6 percentage points to 87.2 percent. Expectations for better economic performance are supporting demand for air travel in the region.

Middle East carriers’ August demand jumped 13.7 percent over the same month in 2014. Major economies in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have experienced slowdowns in non-oil sectors but the growth rates remain robust. Capacity nearly kept pace at 13.5 percent and load factor edged up 0.1 percentage points to 83.7 percent.

Latin American airlines experienced a 6.7 percent rise in traffic compared to August a year ago. Capacity exceeded demand at 7.1 percent and load factor slipped 0.3 percentage points to 82.0 percent. Latin America was the only region to see a decline in load factors. Despite recessionary conditions in Brazil and Argentina, improving regional trade volumes provided a boost to business-related international travel. 

African airlines’ traffic rose 3.6 percent in August year-to-year, which was the slowest growth among the regions but the second consecutive month of growth. Capacity increased 2.9 percent, with the result that load factor improved 0.5 percentage points to 75.2 percent. Adverse economic developments in parts of the continent including Nigeria, the largest economy, suggest that Africa will continue to experience weak growth at best.

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