2011 ends on positive note but capacity and economy worries remain
Passenger demand rose 5.9% for the full year 2011 compared to 2010, according to IATA, in line with long-term growth trends. Growth in demand lagged behind capacity increases at 6.3% for passengers, putting downward pressure on load factors. The average passenger load factor for 2011 was 78.1%, down from 78.3% in 2010. For December, passenger demand rose 5.4% year-on-year, but this result was skewed due to the severe winter weather at the end of 2010, and the trend since mid-2011 has clearly slowed as travel markets react with a lag to declines in confidence that have already weakened cargo. Improving business confidence and encouraging news from the US economy are heartening developments, IATA says, but it is far too early to start predicting a soft landing for 2012.
“Europe’s primarily tax-and-restrict approach to aviation policy has left the continent’s carriers with the weakest profitability among the major regions. Cautious improving business confidence is good news. But 2012 is still going to be a tough year,” said IATA Director General and CEO Tony Tyler.
The euro zone crisis is far from over. Failure to achieve a durable solution will have dire consequences for economies around the world. And it would most certainly tip the airline industry into the red,” said Tyler.