The world’s airlines saw a slowdown in passenger demand in March 2016.
According to the latest data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometres) rose 5.3% year-on-year in March – slower than the 7.2% and 8.6% growth seen in January and February 2016 respectively.
And the demand growth in March also failed to match the 5.9% rise in capacity, causing average load factors to decline to 79.6%.
“While in line with long-term trends, demand growth in March represented a slowdown compared to January and February. It is premature to say whether this marks the end of the recent very strong results. We do expect further stimulus in the form of network expansion and declines in travel costs. However, the wider economic backdrop remains subdued,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general & CEO.
International passenger demand rose 6.2% in March 2016, significantly slower than the 9.1% increase seen in February. International traffic on Asia Pacific airlines rose 6.0%, while European carriers saw a 5.5% increase. But North American airlines’ international traffic edged up just 0.7% year-on-year, the slowest pace since April 2013.
And passenger demand saw a more dramatic deceleration on domestic routes, with a 3.7% increase in March 2016 compared to 7.8% growth in February. This was primarily due to the subdued performance of the world’s two largest domestic air travel markets, the US and China.
India’s domestic bubble showed no signs of bursting however, as the country experienced a 27.4% surge in demand in March.