Passenger Demand Growth Slows In April —IATA
…Says Brussels Attacks Disrupt European Traffic
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that global passenger traffic data for April 2016 indicates that demand (measured in total Revenue Passenger Kilometres (RPKs) rose by 4.6 per cent; the slowest since January 2015.
It also stated that April capacity Available Seat Kilometres (ASKs) increased by 4.9 per cent and load factor slipped 0.3 percentage points to 79.1 per cent
IATA attributed the slow passenger volume in April to the disruptive impact of the Brussels Airport attack, estimating that demand growth would have been around 5 per cent if not for the attack.
According to the Director General IATA, Tony Tyler, “The disruptive impacts of the Brussels terror attacks will likely be short-lived. There are some longer-term clouds over the pace of demand growth. The stimulus from lower oil prices appears to be tapering off. And the global economic situation is subdued. Demand is still growing, but we may be shifting down a gear.”
International Passenger Markets
The airlines’ body revealed that April international passenger demand rose 4.8 per cent compared to April 2015, the slowest pace in two years.
Airlines in all regions led by the Middle East region, IATA stated recorded growth and that total capacity climbed 5.6 per cent, causing load factor to slip 0.6 percentage points to 77.8 per cent.
Asia-Pacific airlines’ April traffic, the international airlines’ body said increased by 6.4 per cent compared to the year-ago period but that slower economic growth in many of the region’s economies has been at least partly offset by an increase in direct airport connections that has helped to stimulate demand.
Capacity however rose by 6.8 per cent and load factor dipped 0.3 percentage points to 77.3 per cent.
According to Tyler European carriers saw demand rise just 1.8 per cent in April, which was well down on the 6.0 per cent growth recorded in March and that this reflects the impact of the Brussels terror attacks, which closed the airport for nearly two weeks.
Capacity, he stated climbed by 2.4 per cent and load factor slipped 0.5 per cent percentage points to 80.2 per cent, which still was the highest among the regions.
The Middle Eastern carriers, the IATA boss disclosed posted a 12.7 per cent passenger traffic increase in April and the only region to record a double-digit percentage increase in demand ,adding that capacity growth of 14.8 per cent outstripped this rise, however, which caused load factor to fall 1.4 percentage points to 75.6 per cent.
North American airlines’ traffic rose by 1.1 per cent compared to April a year ago; the smallest increase among regions while capacity climbed 0.9 per cent causing a 0.1 percentage point rise in load factor to 78.3 per cent.
The body added that while the recent downward slide in international traffic growth paused in April, traffic levels remain below July 2015 on a seasonally-adjusted basis.
According to IATA, Latin American airlines experienced a 3.1 per cent rise in April demand compared to the same month last year while capacity appreciated by 2.9 per cent and load factor edged up 0.1 percentage points to 77.7 per cent.
The upward trend in international traffic growth that characterised 2015,IATA said has paused even as the downward trend in domestic traffic for the region’s carriers has accelerated.
African airlines’ traffic climbed 9.9 per cent in April and capacity rose by 11.1 per cent, with the result that load factor slipped 0.7 percentage points to 66.3 per cent; lowest among regions.
IATA stated that the continued turnaround of the carriers coincides with expansion of long-haul networks by the region’s airlines.