International air passenger traffic rose 7.4% in April year-on-year, the International Air Transport Association says, although this comes a year on from the disruptions in air travel in 2011 with the political turmoil in Arab countries and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. European airlines recorded passenger demand growth of 5.9%, below the global average and significantly lower than the 8.7% growth recorded in March. Demand was, however, stronger than the 3.4% capacity expansion which pushed load factors to 80.7%. It a relatively strong performance, IATA says, but there is a declining trend. North American airlines saw passenger demand expand by just 1.6%, a weakening from the 5.3% year-on-year growth recorded in March.
In contrast, Asia-Pacific carriers experienced strong growth of 9.3% against a capacity expansion of 4.6%. Load factors stood at 78.1%. Middle East airlines’ traffic growth saw a 16.0% gain in passenger demand for April, although this is a fall from the 20.9% growth recorded in March. Latin American carriers experienced a 9.0% expansion in international demand in April, outpacing a capacity expansion of 5.3%. Load factors stood at 78.6%. African airlines reported a 7.0% increase in demand, but here capacity expansion (8.5%) outpaced demand growth. Load factors were the weakest, at 65.9%.
[pictured: SAS landing at Copenhagen Airport; courtesy Copenhagen Airports]