October 2010 showed a 10.1 percent year-on-year increase in airline passenger demand and a 14.4 percent year-on-year increase for international freight, according to the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) international traffic results.
“We are ending 2010 in much better shape than we were just 12 months ago. Airlines have turned losses into profit—albeit tiny. Despite the economic uncertainties people continue to fly. Airlines appear to be managing capacity in the upturn with a good deal of prudence. And cost control continues to be a main theme for airlines everywhere,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
“As we approach the end of 2010, growth is returning to a more normal pattern. Passenger demand is 5 percent above pre-crisis levels of early 2008, while freight is 1 percent above. Where we go from here is dependant on developments in the global economy. The US is spending more to boost its economy. Asia outside of Japan is moving forward with high-speed growth. And Europe is tightening its belt as its currency crisis continues. The picture going forward is anything but clear, but for the time being, the recovery seems to be strengthening,” Bisignani said.
Improvements in demand are being met by a cautious approach to capacity expansion, IATA reports. In the first 10 months of the year, passenger demand grew by 8.5 percent, with a capacity expansion of 4 percent. The cargo capacity expansion of 9.2 percent was well below the demand increase of 24 percent. Forward schedules indicate a continuation of this trend, with a 7.5 percent passenger capacity increase planned for the half-year scheduling period beginning at the end of October.
The 10.1 percent growth in passenger demand in October was slightly below the 10.7 percent recorded in September, but both months showed an improvement over August, IATA says.
North American airlines posted a 12.4 percent demand increase from October 2009. October represented the fastest growth rate of this year, IATA said. With a capacity increase of 11.9 percent, the load factor for North American airlines was pushed to 82.5 percent, the highest among all regions. Compared to pre-recession levels of early 2008, the region’s airlines are carrying 2 percent more traffic. Visit www.IATA.org for more information.