GENEVA — Global passenger demand is up, according to IATA, with March results showing a 5.3% increase compared to the same month last year.
Capacity grew slightly faster at 5.9%, which pushed the average load factor down by half a percentage point to 79.6%.
March performance shows a moderate slowdown on the year-on-year growth rates recorded in January (7.2%) and February (8.6%), even after adjusting for the leap-year impact in February. Demand for international traffic grew significantly more quickly (6.2%) than that for domestic travel (3.7%).
In March, international passenger demand rose 6.2% compared to March 2015, which was a decline compared to the 9.1% increase in February. Airlines in all regions recorded growth, while total capacity climbed 6.9%, causing load factor to slip 0.5 percentage points to 78.5%.
North American airlines’ traffic rose slightly by 0.7% in March compared to the year-ago period, the slowest pace since April 2013. Capacity rose just 0.6% and load factor was flat at 80.5%.
In contrast, Middle East carriers experienced a 12% rise in demand in March, which was the largest increase among regions. Capacity increased 13.6%, however, and load factor dropped 1.1 percentage points to 76.5%.