Global demand for air travel flattens-out

Global demand for air travel flattens-out

Demand for global air transport continued to flatten-out through August according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Demand for air travel expanded by 5.1 percent in August compared to the same month in 2011, however this figure partly reflects a positive distortion owing to the timing of Ramadan. Adjustment for such seasonal fluctuations reveals that passenger demand has been basically flat since June and with only a 1.2 percent expansion since January. Meanwhile, moderate capacity expansion of 4.1 percent growth helped maintain strong load factors at 82.1 percent.

“Passenger markets have not grown since June and global air freight volumes are below previous year levels. In the face of these adverse conditions, disciplined capacity management has kept load factors high. There are always opportunities and some parts of the world are growing. But, overall, trading conditions are tough,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

The growth trend for international traffic remains weak, with overall expansion of 5.3 percent heavily dependent on seasonal factors. Compared to July, August growth was flat, and load factors were down.

Facing strong competition and shifting trade flows, Asia-Pacific carriers were among the weakest in terms of demand growth. They reported a 2.9 percent growth in demand compared to a year ago, which was an improvement on the 0.1 percent expansion recorded in July. However, the growth trend showed weakness month-on-month, with demand slipping 0.5 percent in August compared to July. Load factor rose to 79.4 percent.

Overall, domestic traffic grew by 4.8 percent, slightly ahead of a 4.2 percent rise in capacity, taking domestic load factors to 82.3 percent. All markets, except India and Japan, showed growth compared to the previous August. Chinese domestic travel was the best performer, up 10.8 percent compared to the previous August, reversing the sharp slowdown in the middle part of the year. However, growth was below the capacity expansion of 12.2 percent, and the load factor moderated to 83.6 percent.

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