•International air travel recorded another moderate rise to end 2014, up 3.7% in December compared to a year ago. The annual expansion was just slightly below the December result – growth in 2014 overall was 3.6% compared to 2013;
•There was little difference in performance of premium and economy seat classes, with annual growth of 3.4% and 3.7%, respectively. This near equalization of growth rates has limited improvement in premium’s share of total travel;
•The growth trend in international passenger travel has flattened over the past several months. International air travel volumes have increased only slightly in both seat classes since mid-2014;
•This development reflects a gradual slowdown in improvements in business confidence throughout H2 2014, with economic conditions in the Eurozone and China deteriorating;
•Nonetheless, travel within Europe itself performed well overall in 2014, expanding 3.9%, facilitated by expansion in capacity and routes, as well as declines in airfares;
•But markets like within Far East weakened considerably, up just 1.4% in 2014 overall, with travel declines in Thailand and Malaysia as well as some slowdown in the Chinese economy;
•Longer-haul markets have been performing relatively more strongly, including the Middle East to the Far East and Europe, which explains why international RPKs expanded at a much faster pace than passenger numbers.