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Middle East, Asia lead traffic recovery
Qatar Airways Boeing 777-300ER. © Boeing

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.

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