Chinese New Year drives Asian air traffic surge

Chinese New Year drives Asian air traffic surge

Strong February data "confirms robust expansion", according to IATA

Strong February data "confirms robust expansion", according to IATA

Passengers board a China Southern Airlines flight (photo by Vincent St. Thomas)
Passengers board a China Southern Airlines flight (photo by Vincent St. Thomas)

The timing of Chinese New Year contributed to a sharp rise in passenger traffic on Asian airlines in February 2015.

According to the latest data from IATA, the region’s airlines experienced a 10.4% jump in traffic during the month – the largest of any region. And while the result was weighted by the timing of Chinese New Year, which fell in January last year and February this year, IATA said the “underlying trend in volumes confirms robust expansion in air travel”.

The growth in traffic also outpaced the rise in seat capacity in February, driving aircraft load factors up 1.6 percentage points to 78.2%.

Globally, the world’s airlines experienced a 6.2% rise in passenger traffic in February 2015, including a 6.8% jump in international numbers and a 5.3% rise in domestic.

“Lunar New Year celebrations, particularly in the Asia Pacific region, certainly contributed to the robust February performance, but it is also clear that solid demand for connectivity is off-setting economic weakness in some regions including the Eurozone,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general & CEO.

In terms of domestic markets, India’s strong recent growth continued in February 2015, with a 14.8% jump in traffic and load factors close to 87%. Benefitting from Chinese New Year, airlines in mainland China experienced an 8.4% rise in domestic traffic. The other strong global market was Brazil (+9.2%), which was similarly assisted by the timing of the Rio Carnival, while Japan (+3.6%), the US (+3.5%) and Australia (+3.4%) all saw steady growth.

“The millions of people who travelled for Lunar New Year remind us of the vital role that aviation plays in connecting our world,” said Tyler.

“On an average day some nine million people travel on 100,000 flights. Doing that safely is the industry’s top priority. Words cannot express the shock and sadness that we all feel over the Germanwings tragedy. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those onboard the aircraft.

“The best tribute that we can pay them is to make flying even safer. While the criminal investigation has come to some conclusions, a thorough air accident investigation is imperative to help guide the industry forward,” he concluded.

Mark Elliott
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Mark Elliott
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