Passenger demand up 5.2% for world’s airlines in 2013 – IATA

Passenger demand up 5.2% for world’s airlines in 2013 – IATAGENEVA — The world’s airlines saw full-year traffic results for 2013 record a 5.2% increase in passenger demand compared to 2012, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The 2013 performance aligns with the average annual growth rate of the past 30 years. Capacity rose 4.8% and load factor averaged 79.5% up 0.4 percentage points over 2012.

Demand in international markets (5.4%) expanded at a slightly faster rate than domestic travel (4.9%). Strongest overall growth (domestic and international combined) was recorded by carriers in the Middle East (11.4%) followed by Asia-Pacific (7.1%), Latin America (6.3%) and Africa (5.2%). The slowest growth was in the developed markets of North America (2.3%) and Europe (3.8%).

“We saw healthy demand growth in 2013 despite the very difficult economic environment. There was a clear improvement trend over the course of the year which bodes well for 2014. Last year’s demand performance demonstrates the essential and growing role that aviation-enabled connectivity plays in our world. And with system-wide load factors at 79.5% it is also clear that airlines are continuing to drive efficiencies to an ever-higher level,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

International passenger demand grew by 5.4% in 2013 compared to 2012 with all regions reporting growth. Capacity rose 4.9%, boosting load factor to 79.3%, up 0.4 percentage points over 2012.

North American carriers reported the slowest passenger growth of any region at 3.0% compared to 2012 but an improvement over 2012 growth of 1.3%. With capacity up just 2.2%, load factor rose 0.8 percentage points to 82.8%, the highest for any region. The economy is showing some positive signs: employment growth has picked up, as has consumer spending.