August traffic was up but still well below annual growth: IATA

GENEVA — Though global passenger traffic was up in August, says IATA, growth remains slow overall in some key markets.

August demand (measured in total revenue passenger kilometres, or RPKs) climbed 3.8% compared to the year-ago period, which was above the 3.5% annual increase for July. August capacity also increased by 3.5%, while load factor climbed 0.3% percentage point to 85.7%, which was a new monthly record.

However, according to Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, “growth remains below the long-term trend and well-down on the roughly 8.5% annual growth seen over the 2016 to Q1 2018 period.”

This decline, adds de Juniac, is reflective of the uncertainty over Brexit and the trade war between the U.S. and China.

“Nonetheless, airlines are doing a great job of matching capacity to demand. With passenger load factors reaching a new high of 85.7%, this is good for overall efficiency and passengers’ individual carbon footprint,” he says.

North American carriers’ international demand rose 2.5% compared to August a year ago, up from a 1.4% increase in July. Capacity rose 1.3%, and load factor grew by 1.0 percentage point to 88.3%. This performance represents an improvement from July, but remains relatively soft compared to long-term norms, most likely reflecting trade tensions and slowing demand.

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