Global passenger traffic showed the strongest demand growth in nine months in November 2016, while Middle East carriers led all regions with a 12.2 per cent demand increase.
The total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) rose 7.6 per cent globally compared to November 2015. Capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 6.5 per cent, and load factor rose 0.8 percentage points to 78.9 per cent, said the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
“Stronger demand for air travel reflects—and is supporting--a pick-up in the global economic cycle. As the stimulus effect of lower oil prices recedes in the rear view mirror, the strength of the economic cycle will play a key role in the pace of demand growth in 2017,” said Alexandre de Juniac, Iata's director general and CEO.
November international passenger demand rose 8 per cent compared to the year earlier, with airlines in all regions showing growth. Total capacity climbed 6.8 per cent, and load factor edged up 0.9 percentage points to 77.1 per cent.
Middle East carriers' capacity rose 11.6 per cent and load factor rose 0.3 percentage points to 68.7 per cent.
European carriers saw demand increase by 8.3 pr cent in November 2016, while traffic grew at an annualised pace of 12 per cent over the past five months or so. This suggests that the disruption caused by terrorism and political instability has lifted, against a backdrop of a growing Eurozone economy. Capacity rose 6.8 per cent and load factor climbed 1.1 percentage point to 80.8 per cent.
Asia-Pacific airlines’ November traffic also climbed 8.3 per cent compared to the year-ago period. Capacity increased 7.1 per cent and load factor rose 0.8 percentage points to 77.4 per cent. The strong upward trend in demand has slowed recently but it is not clear whether this is a longer-term development or just a brief pause.
North American airlines’ traffic climbed 1.5 per cent in November. Traffic across the Pacific is growing rapidly but North Atlantic demand is moderating. Capacity rose 1.2 per cent and load factor edged up 0.2 percentage points to 78.7 per cent.
Latin American airlines saw November traffic climb 7.3 per cent compared to November 2015. Capacity increased by just 2.9 per cent, pushing load factor up 3.4 percentage points to 82.2 per cent. The upward trend in international traffic has remained strong despite difficult conditions on the North America-South America route, supported by healthy international demand within South America.
African airlines experienced an 8.2 per cent rise in demand compared to November 2015. Economic conditions in much of Africa remain challenging, particularly in the biggest economies of Nigeria and South Africa, but the upward trend in seasonally-adjusted passenger traffic has reasserted itself more recently, supported by strong demand on routes to and from Asia and the Middle East.
Domestic travel demand rose 7.1 per cent in November 2016 compared to the same month in 2015, but results continued to vary widely, with China, India and Russia showing double-digit growth while demand declined in Brazil and Japan. Domestic capacity climbed 6.1 per cent, and load factor improved 0.8 percentage points to 82.2 per cent.
“The airline industry continues to deliver strong results. In 2017, for a third consecutive year, the industry’s return on invested capital will exceed the cost of capital. Passengers benefit from the industry’s success. Travel has never been more accessible—with great fares, many options and more destinations. Nevertheless uncertainty lies ahead. The threat of terrorism, questions over the durability of the economic upswing, rising oil prices and increasing protectionist rhetoric are among the concerns. The industry has reshaped itself and strengthened its resilience to shocks. We should see another solid year of collective profitability for the airlines in 2017. But we must be vigilant,” said de Juniac. - TradeArabia News Service