The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic results for October showing that demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometers) rose 6.3 percent compared to the same month last year. This marked a rebound from 5.5 percent growth recorded in September, which was an eight-month low. Capacity also grew 6.3 percent and load factor was flat at 81.1 percent, matching last year’s record for the month.
“October’s healthy performance is reassuring after the slower demand growth in September—some of which was attributable to weather-related disruptions,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, in a written release. “However, the bigger picture is that traffic growth has moderated compared to earlier in the year, reflecting a more mixed economic backdrop and reduced demand stimulation from lower fares”
International passenger demand was also up 6.3 percent compared to October 2017, an increase from 5.1 percent growth in September. Airlines in all regions recorded gains: Total capacity climbed 6.1 percent.
- European carriers’ October demand climbed 7.5 percent over October 2017, which was the strongest growth among regions and well up on the 5.3 percent increase for September. Given mixed signals on the economic situation for the region, IATA says it’s unclear if the rebound is sustainable.
- Asia-Pacific airlines’ traffic rose 5.8 percent compared to the year-ago period, up from 5.4 percent year-over-year growth in September. Underlying passenger demand is continuing to be supported by structural changes, including rising living standards in the region, as well as network changes that stimulate demand.
- Middle East carriers experienced a 4.4 percent rise in demand in October compared to last year, slowest among the regions for the seventh time in 12 months. It was, however, an increase over the 3.3 percent increase in September. Carriers have been buffeted by policy measures and geopolitical tensions in recent years, including the ban on portable electronic devices and travel restrictions. However, while volatile, passenger volumes are trending up solidly in seasonally-adjusted terms.
- North American airlines’ traffic climbed 5.6 percent in October compared to the year-ago period, up from 4.9 percent growth in September. Strong momentum in the U.S. economy is helping to drive robust international demand.
- Latin American airlines were the only carriers to experience a slowdown in growth as demand rose 5.9 percent versus 6.3 percent in September.
- African airlines’ traffic grew 6.8 percent year-on-year in October, raised from 6 percent annual growth in September. The upward trend in passenger demand remains strong notwithstanding challenges in the economic backdrop of the continent’s largest economies, Nigeria and South Africa.
IATA represents some 290 airlines comprising 82% of global air traffic.