GENEVA, 21 September 2017: Global passenger traffic in July showed a strong, but moderating demand growth with an increase of 6.8% in revenue passenger km, according to the latest figures from the International Air Transport Association.
All regions reported solid, or better growth, in passenger volumes over the past year. Capacity (available seat km or ASKs) increased by 6.1%, and load factor rose 0.6 percentage points to a July record of 84.7%.
“As is evidenced by the record high load factor in July, the appetite for air travel remains very strong. However, the stimulus effect of lower fares is softening in the face of rising cost inputs. This suggests a moderating in the supportive demand backdrop,” said IATA’s director general and CEO. Alexandre de Juniac.
July international passenger demand rose 6.2% compared to July 2016, which was a slow-down compared to the 7.6% growth recorded in June. Total capacity climbed 5.5%, and load factor edged up 0.5 percentage points to 84.6%.
July traffic rose 5.9% over the year-ago period, a deceleration compared to June growth of 8.8%. As with Europe, carriers in the Asia-Pacific region are seeing a slowing of demand growth. Capacity increased 6.7% and load factor slipped 0.6 percentage points to 81.0%.
Carriers posted a 7.5% rise in traffic for July compared to a year ago, down from 8.8% annual growth in June. Capacity rose 5.9%, and load factor climbed 1.3 percentage points to 88.7%, highest among the regions. The economic backdrop in Europe has strengthened; however, on a seasonal-adjusted basis, the upward growth in travel demand has moderated sharply since February.
Airlines had a 4.5% increase in demand for July. This was an acceleration from the 3.6% annual growth seen in June, but was still well off the 5-year average pace of 11.2%. The Middle East to North America market has been affected by a combination of factors in 2017, including the lifting of a cabin ban on large portable electronic devices, as well as a wider impact from the proposed travel bans to the US. Traffic growth on the Middle East-US route was already slowing in early 2017, in line with a moderation in the pace of expansion of nonstop services flown by the largest Middle Eastern airlines. July capacity climbed 3.6% compared to a year ago and load factor rose 0.7 percentage points to 81.5%.
Airline traffic climbed 3.5% compared to July a year ago. This was down from 4.4% growth in June, but still ahead of the 5-year average pace (2.9%). A relatively solid economic backdrop in North America supports outbound travel.
However, anecdotal evidence suggests that inbound demand is being negatively influenced by the additional security measures in place for travel to the US. July capacity rose 3.8% with the result that load factor slipped 0.3 percentage points to 85.9%.