IATA says world air travel maintained strong growth in October


Tony Tyler. Photo ó Bloomberg file picture

Muscat: The International Air Transport Association announced global passenger traffic results for October showing a moderate acceleration of the robust demand trend of the last few months. Total revenue passenger kilometres rose 6.6 per cent compared to October 2012, an improvement over the September increase of 5.2 per cent. A capacity increase of 6.5 per cent meant that load factor was virtually flat at 78.9 per cent.

"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.

International passenger

October international passenger demand was up 6.9 per cent compared to the year-ago period with airlines in all regions recording growth. Capacity rose 6.6 per cent and load factor climbed 0.2 percentage points to 78.4 per cent.

Asia-Pacific carriers continued their solid performance of recent months with a 7.8 per cent rise in October compared to October 2012, the strongest performance among the three biggest regions. Current growth rates are an improvement compared to the first half of 2013, supported by better performance of major economies such as China and Japan.

Furthermore, international trade volumes in emerging Asian economies rebounded in September adding support for business travel. With capacity up 7.1 per cent versus October 2012, load factor rose 0.5 percentage points to 76.4 per cent.

European carriers' international traffic climbed 5.4 per cent in October compared to the year-ago period, on a 4.6 per cent rise in capacity, pushing load factor up 0.6 percentage points to 81.0 per cent. The Eurozone economy stopped contracting in the second quarter and has continued the modest recovery in the second half of 2013.

Middle East carriers
Middle East carriers had by far the strongest year-over-year traffic growth in October at 14.0 Middle East carriers. Capacity kept pace, however, rising 13.9%, and load factor stayed flat compared to the year-ago period at 75.5 Middle East carriers. Airlines in the region have benefitted from strong demand for business-related premium travel, particularly to developing markets such as Africa.

Solid performance of key economies like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates has also supported strong expansion in business and leisure travel.

Capacity increased by over 4.6 per cent in Middle East carriers and load factor jumped 2.7 percentage points to 79.7 per cent.

Indian carriers
India's airlines also experienced double-digit growth as traffic leapt 11.5 per cent in October compared to a year ago. Airlines have experienced substantial volatility in traffic and it is likely that the increase is a result of unusually low volumes a year ago rather than growth in October. Capacity rose 9.4 per cent and load factor climbed 1.4 percentage points to 72.1 per cent.

Japan traffic climbed 5.1 per cent in October year-on-year, supported by sustained increases in business activity and trade growth. With capacity up 4.1 per cent load factor rose 0.6 percentage points to 68.8 per cent, which still was the lowest among the regions. Brazil's airlines posted domestic traffic growth of 5.5 per cent, a significant improvement compared to the September result of 0.4 per cent.

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