GENEVA — Airline passenger demand took a dip in August. According to IATA’s latest figures, demand climbed 4.6% compared to the year-ago period, a decrease from the 6.4% increase recorded in July. August capacity increased by 5.8%, and load factor slipped 0.9 percentage points to 83.8%.
“Growth in passenger demand dipped to 4.6%. While that’s disappointing compared to the previous month’s performance, it is still healthy growth. And although terrorist attacks in Europe have dampened demand, the impact is ebbing,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
August international passenger demand rose 4.7% compared to August 2015. All regions recorded increases, but growth was dominated by airlines in the Middle East. Capacity climbed 6.5%, causing load factor to slide 1.4 percentage points to 83.9%.
European carriers saw August demand climb 3.3% year-on-year. European traffic continues to be affected by the impact of terrorism, however, there are indications this may be easing. Capacity rose 5.1%, which caused load factor to drop 1.6 percentage points to 86.6%, still the highest among the regions.
North American airlines’ international demand rose 1.8% compared to August a year ago.
“Lower airfares are a major factor sustaining demand for air travel,” said de Juniac. “And airline profitability is stronger than ever as a result of a better industry structure and efficiency gains. But the lingering impact of terrorist attacks in Europe earlier in the year reminds us that the aviation industry is vulnerable to many external factors beyond its control. The risks – including the normal ups and downs of the business cycle –won’t go away. The industry has improved resilience along with its profitability. That will be critical to responding quickly should the business environment change.”