European and North American carriers both experienced a 3 percent fall in November 2009 passenger traffic, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported. Globally, however, international scheduled traffic results for November 2009 showed passenger demand was up by 2.1 percent compared to November. Passenger load factors remain at pre-crisis levels of 75.4 percent while freight load factors stood at 56.6 percent, IATA said.
Unemployment concerns continue to negatively impact consumer confidence in both the U.S. and European markets. Compared to last November, European carriers have cut capacity by 3.9 percent and North American carriers by 6.7 percent. While this has boosted load factors, capacity adjustments may also be weighing on growth rates, IATA said.
The improvement trends for both passenger and freight are being exaggerated by the sharp fall in demand experienced during the second half of 2008, IATA said.
IATA said passenger demand is 6.4 percent better than the low point reached in the first quarter of 2009, but still 6 percent below the peak levels seen in early 2008. Comparing to October (and adjusting for seasonality), passenger demand in November actually fell by 0.7 percent, primarily due to continued weakness in North America and Europe.
“Demand continues to improve, but we still have a lot of ground still to recover. We cannot anticipate any significant improvement in yields in the coming months. So, conserving cash, controlling costs and carefully matching capacity to demand remain at the keys to survival,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s director general and CEO.