Middle East, Asia lead traffic recovery
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic results for September showing that demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometers, or RPKs) grew 7% compared to the same month in 2015. This was the strongest year-over-year increase in seven months. Capacity climbed 6.6% and load factor edged up 0.3 percentage points, to 81.1%. Growth in domestic traffic slightly outpaced growth in international traffic.
International RPKs climbed 6.9% with airlines in all regions recording growth compared to 2015. Total capacity climbed 7.2%, causing load factor to slide 0.2 percentage points to 80.4%.
Traffic increases by region were as follows:
• Middle East, 11.5%. Load factor dropped 1.5 percentage points to 73.9%.
• Asia-Pacific, 8.6%, although there are still signs of Asian travelers being put off by terrorism in Europe. Load factor rose 0.7 percentage points to 77.9%.
• Africa, 8%. Load factor was almost flat at 72.0%.
• Latin America, 7.1%. Load factor surged 3.6 percentage points to 83.7%.
• Europe, 5.2%. Load factor slipped 0.4 percentage points to 84.8%, which was the highest among regions. Demand growth seems to be returning to normal after the disruption caused by terrorism and political instability.
• North America, 3.3%. Load factor fell 0.7 percentage points to 81.5%.
Domestic demand climbed 7.2% in September compared to September 2015, which was up from the 4.1% year-on-year growth recorded in August. India and China continued to experience double-digit annual traffic increases while elsewhere, results were mixed. All markets except Australia registered all-time highs in September load factors.