IATA reports 3.2% rise in passenger travel demand
A few days ahead of the global air transport industry gathering in Cape Town for the International Air Transport Association‘s 69th Annual General Meeting on June 2-4, IATA has released global passenger traffic results for April showing a 3.2% increase in demand over the previous April.
Emerging markets continue to lead air travel growth, but all regions are reporting year-over-year gains with the exception of a slight contraction in North America.
The timing of the Easter holiday, which occurred in March 2013 and in April 2012, is largely responsible for the apparent decline from March’s 6.2% increase in demand. But the seasonally adjusted rate for April shows demand up almost 5%, which is in line with the long-term trend.
“Passenger demand continued to grow in April, extending the positive trend that has been developing since late 2012,” said Tony Tyler, IATA director general and chief executive. “The increase, however, is concentrated in emerging markets. Airlines in Europe and North America reported modest expansion compared to the strong growth seen in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. While economic developments in Europe and the US certainly bear watching, most indicators continue to signal further expansion in air travel.”
Capacity rose 4.4% on the previous April, slightly ahead of demand. This pushed the industry load factor 0.9 percentage points downwards to 78.1%. Yet if adjusted for impacts of seasonality, the load factor remained near record highs of 80%.
Tyler added that high on the agenda in Cape Town will be aviation’s environmental commitment to achieving carbon-neutral growth from 2020, as well as safety, distribution and financial sustainability.
“One of our key messages to governments will be that aviation should be treated like any other business. We don’t want a handout, but we also don’t want to be singled out for special fees and taxes, and commercial regulations that chill market creativity and initiative,” he said.
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[pictured: View over Copenhagen Airport; courtesy Copenhagen Airports]