Passenger demand up with record load factors for May: IATA

Passenger demand up with record load factors for May: IATA

GENEVA — Global passenger traffic was up 7.7% in May 2017 compared to May 2016, slower than the 10.9% growth recorded in April but still well ahead of the 5- and 10-year average growth rates, according to the latest stats from IATA.

Capacity climbed 6.1%, and load factor rose 1.2 percentage points to 80.1%, which was a record high for the month. All regions, excluding the Middle East and North America, posted record May load factors.

After adjusting for inflation, airfares at the start of the second quarter were around 6% lower than a year ago. IATA estimates that this contributed to around two-fifths of the annual growth in passenger traffic seen in May. Passenger demand is likely to remain well supported during the upcoming peak travel months of July and August, according to IATA.

“Passenger demand is solid. And we don’t foresee any weakening over the busy summer months in the Northern Hemisphere,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “But the rising price of fuel and other input costs is likely to see airlines’ ability to stimulate markets with lower fares taper over the coming months. In parallel, rising trade protectionism and barriers to travel are worrying trends that, if unchecked, could impact demand. As a business airlines depend on borders that are open to trade and people.”

North American airline traffic climbed 4.8% in May, down from 10.3% annual growth in April but still a strong result for the region compared to the 5-year average growth rate. Capacity rose 4.2% and load factor climbed 0.5 percentage points to 80.5%.

European carriers’ May demand climbed 7.5% over May 2016, down from the 14.5% year-over-year growth recorded in April. Capacity rose 5.2% and load factor was up 1.8 percentage points to 82.8%, which was the highest among regions.

Asia-Pacific airlines saw their traffic rise 10.5% in May compared to the year-ago period. Middle East carriers had a 3.7% rise in demand in May compared to a year ago, close to an eight-year low. Latin American airlines experienced a 9.3% increase in traffic in May compared to the same month last year. And African airlines’ traffic rose 11.7% in May compared to the year-ago period, which was more than twice as fast as the 5.1% rise in capacity.