First quarter ends on strong note for air passenger traffic
GENEVA - International Air Transport Association (IATA) global passenger numbers for March show demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) ncreasing 6.8%, on the same month a year ago. Capacity grew 6.1% and the load factor climbed by 0.5% to 80.4%, a record for the month.
March demand growth represented a moderate slowdown relative to performance in February after adjusting for the distortion in on-year comparisons due to the extra day in February. IATA said the imposition of the ban on large electronics in-cabin on certain routes to the US and UK occurred too late in March to have an effect on traffic figures.
"Strong traffic demand continued throughout the first quarter, supported by a combination of lower fares and a broad-based upturn in global economic conditions,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
“The price of air travel has fallen by around 10% in real terms over the past year, and that has contributed to record load factors. We will have to wait another month to see the impact of the laptop ban on demand."
Asia-Pacific airline traffic jumped 9.1% in March compared to a year ago. Capacity increased 7.4%, and load factor by 1.2% to 78.7%. IATA said growth within the Asia region was solid while traffic on the Asia-Europe route had continued to recover strongly from terrorism-related disruption in early-2016. Demand had risen at an annualized rate of 22% since November.
Asia-Pacific accounts for 32.9% world share of the air passenger market, Europe for 26.4% and North America 23.7%. www.iata.org (ATI).