World airline passenger demand moderates in February

April 5, 2019

GENEVA - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) figures show that total revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) in February 2019 rose by 5.3%, compared to February 2018. This was the slowest rate of growth in more than a year but still in line with long-term demand trends.

Monthly capacity (available seat kilometres or ASKs) increased by 5.4%, and load factor slipped 0.1% to 80.6%, which, IATA says, is still high by historic standards. 

"After January's strong performance, we settled down a bit in February, in line with concerns about the broader economic outlook, said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO. "Continuing trade tensions between the US and China, and unresolved uncertainty over Brexit are also weighing on the outlook for travel," 

February international passenger demand rose 4.6% compared to February 2018, which was a slowdown from 5.9% growth in January. Capacity climbed 5.1%, and load factor dropped 0.4% to 79.5%..
European carriers showed the strongest performance for a fifth consecutive month in February. Passenger demand increased by 7.6%, compared to a year ago, unchanged from January. IATA described this as a paradox, given Brexit concerns and signs of a softer economic outlook.

Asia-Pacific airlines' February traffic rose 4.2% compared to the year-ago period, a substantial slowdown from the 7.2% increase recorded in January.

IATA says the timing of the Lunar New Year holiday in the first week of February this year may have shifted some traffic to January. Capacity increased 4.7% and the load factor dipped 03.% to 81.0%. (ATI).